Passage: Exodus 13:17-22

Speaker: Mitch Kim

Series: Coming Home – A Journey Through Exodus

God Goes Before Us

            2020 has been a bit surprising: a global pandemic; a shelter-in-place for over two months; schooling, graduations, weddings, and funerals moved online; the sad deaths of Ahmaud Arberry, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd; protests and marches across the nation not seen since the Vietnam War; tear gas and looting in our backyard. Was not this year supposed to be the year of 20/20 clear vision?  And yet at the same time, God goes before us. And as we wrap up our ministry year and look ahead, we want to celebrate that God goes before us to protect, to fulfill his promises, and to provide.

            First, God goes before us to protect (Exod 13:17–18), even from ourselves. When the people left Egypt, they were armed for battle (13:18), but they were not yet ready for handle battle with the Philistines. Their enthusiasm outstripped their preparation. So God wisely led them by the way of the wilderness instead of through a battle with the Philistines. God was training them for the battle ahead through the wilderness before them. Similarly God knows what we can handle, and He will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear (1 Cor 10:13). God protects us, even from ourselves; His desire is not to overwhelm but grow us. Similarly while this season is challenging, it is not too much for us. God always goes before us to protect us, even from ourselves. Who knows what challenges God did not bring up

            Also God goes before us to fulfill his promises (Exod 13:19). Hundreds of years earlier, Joseph had died looking forward to God’s promises. While God had promised the land of Canaan, but Joseph was buried in Egypt. So at his death, he looked forward to when they would leave from Egypt, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones with you from here” (13:19). As the people leave Egypt, they take the bones of Joseph with them. Similarly we take great comfort that God is not working haphazardly, but He continues to go before us to fulfill his promises. Earlier the Lord had laid on our hearts a conviction that a church united can heal a nation divided; could the events of this season be the beginning of an answer to that prayer?

            Finally God goes before us to provide (Exod 13:20–22). God leads them into the wilderness to teach them to trust him. He will provide manna to eat and water to drink. He provides a pillar of cloud to protect them from the sun by day and a pillar of fire to shine light on them in the night. God does not leave us to die in the wilderness, but He loves to provide in the wilderness. He has provided for us — in paying off our mortgage, using us to bless other hurting people in our community in a variety of different ways, and giving us creativity to serve in this season. And God will go before us to provide.

            God goes before us. Let us celebrate the God who goes before us. He protects us, even from ourselves, that He might grow us through these challenges. He fulfills His promises. And He will provide through the challenges.

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