In Exodus, God guides His people with a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night. The pillar of cloud and fire was a visible reminder to the Israelites that God was present with them on their journey.
BIBLE READING: Exodus 40:34-48 (see also Exodus 13:21 & 16:9-10)
MEMORY VERSE: Exodus 13:21 – “Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place before the people.”
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BIBLE STUDY NOTES FOR TEENS
BACKGROUND TO PASSAGE
The Israelites were enslaved by Egypt for hundreds of years until God sent Moses to lead them to freedom. God used a pillar of cloud and fire to guide and protect them on their journey through the desert. Moses was also instructed to build a tabernacle for worship and laws to guide their new life. When the Tabernacle was finished, the cloud covered it, and the Lord’s glory filled it, indicating to the people that God was with them. The pillar of fire and cloud was a tangible sign of God’s guidance, reminding them that the Lord was with them every step of the way.
THE PURPOSES OF THE PILLARS
- To provide guidance to the Israelites as they travelled to the Promised Land.
- To represent God’s presence among the people.
- To remind them of the need for ongoing obedience (Psalm 99:6,7)
- To provide shelter (Isaiah 4:5‑6)
- Security and protection (Exodus 14:19‑20)
- A sign of God’s power (Numbers 20:11)
- To depict the holiness of God (Exodus 15:17)
- To show the Israelites the importance of fulfilling promises and obligations (Deuteronomy 6:12-15).
- To bring glory to God (Psalm 78:69).
- As a symbol of the covenant between God and his people (Exodus 24:6-8).
- To represent the nation of Israel (Isaiah 19:19-20).
- A reminder that God is always with his people (Exodus 32:34).
- A sign of unity of one nation and one people.
1. GOD WANTS TO GUIDE US – EXODUS 40:36-37
2. BY DAY AND BY NIGHT – EXODUS 13:21
3. WE ARE ON A JOURNEY – EXODUS 40:37
4. BE WILLING TO FOLLOW GOD WHEN AND WHERE HE WANTS – EXODUS 13:22
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YOUTH GAMES AND ACTIVITIES – God guides His People
CLOUD AND FIRE PILLAR SCAVENGER HUNT
- Create a scavenger hunt using cloud and fire symbols to mark the locations of the clues.
- Each clue can lead to a question, challenge or discussion point from the study.
- For example: Clue: “At night, the Lord guided the Israelites with what?” (Answer: A pillar of fire) – Place this clue near a fire decoration.
- Encouraging youth to work together, explore the lesson.
TRUST THE LEADER
- This game emphasizes the importance of trusting and following God’s guidance.
- One person is designated as the leader, while others are blindfolded (the Israelites).
- The leader must verbally guide the blindfolded players through an obstacle course, teaching them to listen and trust in their leader’s directions, just as the Israelites trusted God’s guidance.
JOURNEY TO THE PROMISED LAND
- Set up a large game board representing the journey of the Israelites.
- Divide the players into teams and have them answer questions or complete challenges based on the Bible study to advance on the game board. The first team to reach the Promised Land wins.