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  • Writer's pictureDr. Jim Baldwin

Hunkered Down Homilies – Lead Us

Fire coming out from behind the trees

It was a beautiful day in coastal Carolina last weekend.  The sun was shining, the weather forecast called for temperatures near 80 degrees and one of our favorite bands was playing at the St. Patrick’s Day Festival in North Myrtle Beach.  So ENan and I put on our green shirts and our dancing shoes and set out for south of the border. 

Our route to Myrtle Beach takes us down interstate highways that circle Wilmington.  We were cruising along, listening to our Classic Oldies playlist on Spotify, when we spotted an unusual sight off to the east.  In the distance, maybe a half mile from the highway, was a tower of flames leaping above the tree line.  There was no smoke, just fire.  No firetrucks rushing toward the scene, just silence.  It was quite a sight.

I am certain there is a reasonable explanation for the fiery phenomenon we witnessed.  Duke Energy has a power plant near that location and folks who live near there may experience such sights every day.  But for two curious people with very active imaginations, it stirred other thoughts.

ENan and I both thought of the pillar of fire that led the Israelites through the wilderness as they journeyed toward the Promised Land.  “By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.”  (Exodus 13:21)  God had orchestrated multiple plagues and disasters to cause Pharoah to grant the Israelites freedom to leave Egypt.  After the final plague that changed Pharoah’s heart, God’s people were told to gather their things and leave immediately.  The Israelites had been held captive in Egypt for 430 years.  They didn’t know the way to the Promised Land or to anywhere else.  So God led them in a powerful and visible way with the pillar of fire.  Everywhere they went, God went before them.

The New Testament story of Jesus’ death and resurrection is foretold in this Exodus event.  Just as God delivered the Israelites from bondage, He also sets us free from sin and guilt.  Then He leads us in the right paths and shows us how to walk in the way of Jesus. 

The One who was the “Light of the World” is still the “light for our path.” 

Dr. Jim Baldwin

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