If you have the time and the inclination, review the following scriptures: Ex. 14:1-4; 16:2,3; 17:1-4; Num. 11:4-6, 18-20; 14:1-4; 20:3-5; 21:5. In each of these verses Israel longs for the good things of Egypt, for an opportunity to return her slime pits. You with young children might have experienced something like this. I know I made life miserable for my parents on a couple of occasions when they took me to visit distant relatives and I did not want to go. My constant complaining and incessant review of the things I was missing at home must have filled them with indignation. The Lord seems to have had some of those same feelings about the children of Israel during their backward-looking journey to the Promised Land.
This lesson will review some of their experiences and rebellions in the wilderness. It will focus on several things the Lord provided to help them focus their attention on the future and the blessings he hoped to give them.
I. THE PILLAR OF FIRE AND THE CLOUD. The wilderness journey of the Israelites was directed by the Lord. His concern and presence were manifested by a pillar of fire and a cloud.
"And on the day that the tabernacle was reared up the cloud covered the tabernacle, namely, the tent of the testimony: and at even there was upon the tabernacle as it were the appearance of fire, until the morning. So it was alway: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night" (Num. 9:15 ,16).
Exodus teaches about the pillar of fire in this way:
"And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people" (Ex. 13:21,22).