Pillar of Fire
20 After leaving Sukkoth they camped at Etham on the edge of the desert. 21 By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. 22 Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.
When we look out during the day, we see a ball of fire providing us with the light, warmth and energy needed to grow and sustain our planet. The sun is a massive ball of fire and is very powerful. If the earth is too close, we will all die from the heat and any further away, we will be too cold and vegetation will not be sustainable. Heat and fire can be frightening if it was out of control. I almost let it get that way when I was cooking something on the stove and forgot to check on it. I could smell something burning and rushed to see a pillar of smoke coming out of the pot. The good news what that there was no fire, but just some burnt rice.
God provided a pillar of cloud during the day and a pillar of fire to give his people light during the night so that they could travel by day or night. Just that in itself is a miracle and should have caused them to be in awe of the power of God, who was doing his best to discipline and teach his people to trust in him instead of their own abilities. We know that at the end, many grumbled and complained and would rather be in slavery in Egypt so that they could have better food. They would give up their freedom for better food as they were sick of water and manna. God did what he said he would do and did not let the people down. However, it was the people who were in contempt and were not thankful to God for the freedom that He provided them to get out of slavery. This is a good reminder for me to remember that God’s pillar of fire is not to burn me, but to provide the guidance I need.