Faith and Magic: Columns of fire and smoke

Do “scientific explanations” mean the events aren’t miracles, or do they mean God is lord of nature? For me, I was just confused when the plagues looked like magic. Now they look like nature I’m awed, just as the disciples were, by my God who has total control over nature, who predicts and arranges events perfectly to fit His plan. And what was God’s plan? Just let my people go?

Read Exodus 5:3

There was I thinking Moses said “Let my people go” and meant “forever.” D’you remember that trade route across the desert from when Moses first ran away. It’s seven days long. Three days out, plus one day to sacrifice, plus three days to return would make seven days, so if the Pharaoh believes they’re doing just what Moses said, he’ll expect the Israelites back seven days later… which might be way he waits so long before sending the troops after them. D’you suppose God told Moses to say that so they’d have a chance to get out of Egypt. (Pharoah’s troops couldn’t legally chase them in Midian.)

So the Israelites set out, led by a column of fire during the night and of smoke during the day. I used to spend ages trying to imagine what the column was like. Did no-one ever think to run ahead, maybe walk round it, try to see what it looked like from the other side? But if Moses was leading the people to a volcanic mountain, perhaps the “column” was the smoke and flame shooting up from Mount Sinai, showing them the way.

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