The Gospel in Exodus: Israel’s Ancient GPS

We have become increasingly dependent upon, and grateful for, the array of navigational tools at our disposal. However, we learn to be wary of accepting every single GPS instruction without question. We have read reports of some who, unquestioningly, have followed their GPS’ instructions, driving their vehicles down boat ramps and into the lake. Though you may not have experienced this misfortune, have you ever been directed by your GPS to turn the wrong way down a one-way street? A wise and alert driver will recognize that the posted signs and local traffic laws carry a higher authority than does the voice of the GPS. In a similar way, we must recognize that amid all the directional advice for life that we receive, God’s Word has ultimate authority. We are all travelers to eternity. Whose voice will determine the direction, and final destiny, of your life?

God’s deliverance of His people Israel from slavery in Exodus is characterized not only by His liberating power, but by His unerring direction. We read that “The LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to lead them on their way during the day and in a pillar of fire to give them light at night …. The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night never left its place in front of the people” (Exo 13:21-22 HCSB). Through a desert region for some 40 years, with few landmarks, the people could depend on God’s unfailing guidance and undying light. Similarly, the psalm writer observed by experience, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psa 119:105 ESV).

A wise man cautioned, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death” (Pro 16:25 ESV). This fact enables us to understand Jesus’ deep concern, who, “when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd” (Mat 9:36 KJV). The aimless course of humanity continues to draw out the compassion of a Savior who came “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luk 19:10). Still today, a life without Christ is a life without direction.

Sadly, religion does more to mislead than it does to give proper spiritual direction. Concerning the mainstream religious leaders of His day, Jesus declared, “They are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit” (Mat 15:14 ESV). In stark contrast, He declared, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (Joh 8:12 ESV). Almost since the dawn of time, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way” (Isa 53:6 KJV). Have you recognized you are hopelessly lost? “While we were still helpless, at the appointed moment, Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom 5:6 HCSB). One day, Thomas the disciple posed a question we would all do well to ask, “Lord …. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (Joh 14:5-6 ESV).