The Lord's Pilgrims

Alec Motyer

READ : Exodus 13:1-22

This is how you are to eat it . . . your staff in your hand. (12:11 NIV)

Passover was a night meal eaten by people dressed for going places. Sheltering under the blood of the Lamb turned Pharaoh’s slaves into the Lord’s pilgrims. Before Passover they could not leave; after Passover they could not stay. This is seen not only in their clothing but in the marvel of the Pillar of Cloud and Fire (13:21-22), whose very presence was an invitation and a promise: Come with me and I will lead you and protect you.

And it was as well they had this reassurance, for upon leaving Egypt they came to one of the Lord’s roundabouts (13:18) and seemed to go off in the wrong direction. They were looking forward to the promised land, and found themselves facing the desert instead (13:20). Not because they got their guidance wrong, but because they got it right! They followed the Pillar and learned a great truth: that his thoughts are not our thoughts, nor our ways his ways (Isaiah 55:8).

Why not straight into Canaan, we ask? Why the detour? Why the wilderness? Because, says the wisdom of God, what you think is the straight road is just where you will get lost, and what seems my crooked road is the guaranteed way home (13:17-18).


Thank you, Lord, that you lead us by a straight way. (Psalm 107:7)