And the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them. So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Exodus 14:19
When the Israelites left Egypt, He showed the way by a pillar of cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night so that they would always know the way to go. Each one went before them to guide them and let them know when it was time to stay put. When Pharaoh and the Egyptians pursued them, the angel of God and the cloud moved from before them to behind them, to protect them from the ensuing army.
The interesting thing is that it was a pillar, which meant it was vertical.
Why would it be vertical instead of horizontal? Wouldn’t it be better to have a horizontal block instead of a vertical one to cover more space between them and the enemy? Maybe, but I think God had a plan.
I think it shows that our sight should always be vertical, looking up to the Lord, instead of horizontal, and looking to others for direction.
To the Egyptians, the barrier kept them from committing evil and harming the Israelites. To the Israelites, it was for their protection. God also places barriers around us for our protection. You could say today that He has put a hedge around us.
On Merriam-Webster.com, a hedge is defined: “to enclose or protect with or as if with a dense row of shrubs or low trees”. We may think of it as rules or demands, but that’s not what they are.
They are a hedge of protection from the evil one and from our own sinful nature.
That’s what God does. He protects us.
If we break through God’s hedge demanding to go our own way, we are setting ourselves up for trouble, and maybe even disaster, and God may not continue to protect us if we go too far.
It’s a sad thing to break through God’s hedge. He put it there for a reason.
Israel didn’t move until the cloud or pillar of fire did, and neither should we. It is His way of protecting us.
Let us all be mindful to look vertically for direction, knowing that God’s hedge is around us.
–by Pam Rehbein