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He "guided (same word as led) them by skillfulness of His hands" (Psa. 78: 72).
"He spread a cloud for a covering; and a fire to give light in the night" (Psa. 105: 39).
So in Exod. 13: 21, 22 we read:--
"And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them in 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."
Let us notice the following features:--
1. The leading was Personal.
"The Lord went before them." When Moses rehearsed, before his death, the ways of
the Lord with Israel, speaking of His leading he said, "So the Lord alone did lead him"
(Deut. 32: 12). It is the Lord's prerogative to lead His people, and the solemn
statement of Moses here seems to suggest that all other "leading" is nothing less than
idolatry. This should give pause to any who rather freely use the expression "I felt led".
This personal Presence of the Lord was clearly realized by Moses as being essential to
the accomplishment of the Lord's purpose:--
"My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. And he said unto Him, If
Thy presence go not with men, carry us not up hence" (Exod. 33: 14, 15).
This presence of the Lord was manifested by an angel. "Behold Mine angel shall go
before thee" (Exod. 32: 34). So in Exod. 14: 19, 20 we find:--
"The angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind
them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them; and
it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and
darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these."
The presence of the Lord, the leading of the Lord, is a great dividing line between the
saint and the world. "As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God"
(Rom. 8: 14). The leading may be by lowlier means than that of an angel.
Psa. 77: 20 says, "Thou leddest Thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and
Aaron", yet though the means be more fallible, the Lord alone is the leader, whatever
medium He may choose from time to time. The children of God to-day may not see
visible signs of the Lord's presence, nevertheless the Lord still leads His people, and
largely uses the inspired Word. "Send out Thy light and Thy truth, let them lead me"
(Psa. 43: 3). We may be more certain that we "feel led" when we are led by God's own
2. The leading was adapted to the need.
By day a pillar of cloud, but this would not have been visible by night, and so the Lord
manifested His presence at night by means of a pillar of fire. The experience of one time
is not necessarily the experience of another. In the daytime and sunshine of life the
Lord's presence will be manifest in one way. In the dark night of life's experiences His