Exodus 13:17-22

Exodus 13:17-22



Exodus tells the story of how God redeemed his people from slavery in Egypt and made a covenant with them to be their God and for them to be his people. Exodus touches on many important biblical themes, such as:

  • God’s faithfulness to his covenant promises 
  • The life of faith and the struggle to see God in the midst of suffering
  • God’s power and authority over the kingdoms of the world
  • God’s sovereignty over the events of life
  • God’s law and righteous standards
  • The passing over of sin through the shedding of blood

Exodus foreshadows God’s ultimate act of redemption through the death and resurrection of Jesus, by whom we were delivered from slavery to sin, freed from the tyranny of the Devil, and brought into a new covenant with God.

What have been some of the most unexpected parts of being an adult? What did you expect adulthood to be like, and how does that match with what you’ve experienced?

In this week’s passage, Israel has been set free from Egypt and begins the long journey through the wilderness. During this journey, Israel will encounter and experience many unexpected things common to the journey of faith: impatience with God’s plan, confusion, experiences of God’s presence, temptations to grumble, learning to trust God for provision, longings to go back to their former life, and even having the tyrannical aspects of your former life pursue you again.



  • Begin by examining the text together. What do you notice? What stands out? Who are the main characters? What is surprising? What questions do you have?
  • In verses 17-18, we read that God did not lead Israel by the most direct route out of Egypt but instead led them by a very long and indirect path. Sometimes during the long journey of faith, God does not always lead us down a straight path of progress. Sometimes, it can feel like we are wandering directionless through life. Sometimes we experience significant suffering or setbacks. Sometimes our plans and dreams are dashed by disappointment. And in the midst of seasons like this, we wonder what God is doing. Have you ever experienced a season where you couldn’t understand what God was doing with your life? Share about that season and how it affected you.
  • In verse 17, Moses tells us why God led them on such a long and inefficient path out of Egypt. Namely, because God knew that on the direct path, the people would encounter war. And He knew that the fear of war would cause them to want to return to Egypt, the very place God had just delivered them from. Have you ever experienced a time when God interrupted or shut down your plans, but later you saw how God used that to protect your faith and draw you closer to him?
  • In verses 21-22, Moses describes God’s powerful and tangible presence with Israel as they wandered through the wilderness (pillar of cloud by day and fire by night). Sometimes we experience God’s presence and grace most tangibly in seasons of life that feel like “wilderness wanderings.” Why do you think that we often experience the greatest intimacy with God in times of suffering? Have you ever experienced this? Share.
  • Read 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. In this text, Paul gives us direction for how to relate to those who might be walking through confusing seasons of suffering or disappointment. How has God most powerfully comforted you in those difficult seasons? And what were the most meaningful ways others have expressed the gospel care and comfort to you in those hard seasons?


Father, we believe that you are a good Shepherd who leads us into places of flourishing and rest. Give us the eyes of faith to trust your guidance in seasons of confusion and pain, knowing that you are working all things for our good. In Jesus' name, Amen.
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