And 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: so that the one came not near the other all the night. - Exodus 14:19-20
I know that the actual parting of the Red Sea is considered the "big miracle" in this passage of Scripture, but I'm sorry, I find these two verses just as amazing. . . maybe even more. Okay, the cloud (which was God) moved from in front of the people of Israel to a place behind them. I get that. In doing so, God accomplished three things. First off, He set Himself as a barrier between Israel and Egypt, meaning that the only way the Egyptians could get to Israel was by first going through God. In other words, God literally had Israel's back. I love that! Secondly, He set Himself in a place to block Israel's view, so that the children would stop looking back at the approaching army and instead focus on the path ahead of them. Thirdly, by taking up a position in the rear, God could keep the Israelites moving forward, much like a sheepdog herding sheep or me urging Tippy onward when we go on our many hikes.
That part I get, and I truly appreciate. In fact, I could probably write several posts on that one verse alone (and I have, hehehe). But today I want to focus on verse 20: 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: so that the one came not near the other all the night. How can one cloud provide both light and darkness? How is it that the people of Israel (and keep in mind there were hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of them) could all see clearly like it was day while, at the same time, the Egyptians were stumbling along in the dead of night? One single cloud. Hmm.
I think the best explanation of this (if one can truly explain a miracle) can be found in the book of John. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. . . That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. (John 1:5,9-10)
Darkness simply doesn't understand light, and the Egypt in this passage is certainly a picture of darkness (i.e. wickedness). John makes it clear that the Light came to light every man; nevertheless, the world knew Him not. They did not accept the Light. They couldn't comprehend it, so rather than taking a leap of faith that Jesus was who He said He was, they accused Him of blasphemy and sentenced Him to death. While Jesus' followers were walking in the Light, the rest of the world saw only darkness, just like the Egyptians.
What about you? Are you walking plainly in the Light of day or stumbling about in darkness? The Light is available to all who will trust in Him. You don't have to remain in the dark. Come on, let the Son shine in!