Dressed for Battle

followFollow Me: Deliverance[1]

Observations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible

Exodus 13:17 [2]

The comments about the Hebrew’s departure from Egypt in Chapter 13 reveal interesting information. We learn that God led them in a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day enabling them to travel day or night.[3] Some translations suggest the pillar of cloud/fire was given when they reached Etham, but I don’t find that consistent with God’s character.

The Hebrews departed in the middle of the night. Therefore it is much more likely that they followed the pillar of fire out of Egypt. Otherwise there would have been mass confusion about where to go. This is a different time. They did not possess cell phones and flashlights. The image in my mind of a million people following a pillar of fire is dramatic.

We also learn the men were dressed for battle yet God led them the long way instead of taking the shorter route through the Philistine country. God had a reason for choosing the longer route. “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.”[4]

Moses oversaw a large congregation of immature believers. God’s dealings with Pharaoh created hardship for his people and almost from the beginning they wanted Moses to leave. Some considered it better to be slaves in Egypt than suffer discomfort. If they were happy with the status quo in Egypt even though they were miserable what would they do if they had to fight a war?

They marched out of Egypt wearing battle gear following the fire and, no doubt, grumbling about God taking them the long way around. We might be clad in the armor of God but that does not mean we are ready to fight a war.

We need to trust God’s wisdom. He acted in their best interest. They had to take the long way because their immaturity would have cost them the fulfillment of the promises God made to them.


[1] From the time God promised to change Jacob’s name to Israel, Jacob and his descendants were addressed as both Jacob and Israel, which can be confusing. In Follow Me: Deliverance, I will use “Hebrews” to identify the children of Jacob.

[2] All Scripture is from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.

[3] Exodus 13:21-22

[4] Exodus 13:17

About Teena Myers

Teena Myers is the Chairman of Southern Christian Writers, a freelance writer and author of three books.
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