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 Vol. 8, No. 5 

May 2006

Youth Page

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Wall of Fire

By Mark McWhorter

Image The prophet Zechariah gave many interesting word pictures regarding God and his people. In Chapter Two, verses four and five, we read, "And said unto him, Run, speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein: For I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her."

There are several possibilities regarding this wall of fire. It was common for shepherds in the field to build fires around the campsite at night. These were used to discourage wild animals from getting to the sheep. It also made it more difficult for robbers to enter the campsite. The words could also be a reminder of the pillar of fire that led the Israelites in the wilderness. This pillar stood between the Israelites and the Egyptians while the Israelites crossed the Red Sea. It kept the Egyptians from killing the Israelites.

While fire is looked upon as a symbol of judgment, it at times is used as a symbol of protection. Zechariah was prophesying about God's protection of his people.

I know you want to be protected by God. In order for that to happen, you must study your Bible. You must learn all you can and then obey what it says. God is always willing to aid us against our spiritual enemies. He is always willing to put a spiritual wall of fire around us. Make sure you are inside that wall of fire. And if any of this is hard to understand, ask an adult to help you.

Fire and Cloud to Lead

By Mark McWhorter

In ancient times armies traveled mostly by foot, horse, camel or cart. People involved in foreign trade many times traveled together in caravans by the same ways. If the army or caravan was large, the group could be spread out in a long line. It would make it difficult for those in the back of the group to know where the leader was or in what direction the group was headed.

In many cultures, it was traditional for some in the front of the procession to carry a signal device. This was a small iron vessel attached to the top of a long pole. Wood fires would burn in the iron vessel. By day, those in the back would be able to see the smoke from the fire and know where the leaders were. At night they would be able to see the light from the flames.

In some ancient cultures, there was even a religious significance to these devices. The Persians carried small silver altars with fire burning in them at the front of their army. The fire was sacred and indicated eternality of their gods and leader. As long as the fire burned, the army was guided by the gods.

In Exodus 13: 21-22, we read, "And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people."

God, himself, guided the Israelites. He did so with a cloud by day and a fire pillar by night. He never left them. The Israelites knew that God was with them. They could always see the cloud and the fire. When you understand that there may have been close to 2.5 million people in the multitude that left Egypt, it is easy to see that those in the back would wonder where they were going and where the leaders were. This was not just a small little cloud and a small little fire. The cloud and fire were big enough that everyone could see them. There are estimates that when the Israelites pitched camp at a place that their camp was forty square miles. An adult can help you understand just how large an area that is.

I am glad that God loved man enough to do the many wonderful things he did throughout history. I am glad that he can be seen by any of those who desire to follow him. Today he guides us through the Bible. All we have to do is read and study it to find out where he wants us to go. Of course, this is a spiritual guidance. He is not guiding us to a place on earth. Instead, he is guiding us to heaven.

Keep reading your Bible. Find out how to get to heaven. And if any of this is hard to understand, ask an adult to help you.

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