Then the angel of God who was going before the hose of Israel moved and went behind them, and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them, coming between the host of Egypt and the host of Israel. And there was the cloud and the darkness. And it lit up the night without one coming near the other all night.
Exodus 14:19-20 ESV
As the Israelites fled from Egypt, the LORD went before them and guided their way by day with a pillar of cloud and by night with a pillar of fire. Yet soon Pharaoh’s heart was hardened once more, causing him to pursue the Israelites. With an army of the finest chariots in Egypt, the Pharaoh would surely overtake the crowd of former slaves, and it seems he almost succeeded before God intervened. As the king of Egypt and his army drew near, the same pillar of guidance moved behind the people of Israel and became their pillar of deliverance. Being quick to protect His people, God steps between the Egyptians and the Israelites, a buffer which no man can breach. Hard as he might try, Pharaoh could not pass through the clouds, which covered them in darkness; however, for the Israelites, this same pillar continued to display its light. Like the ninth plague, darkness for the enemies of God and light for the people of God came from the same source.
This too is the work of Jesus as mediator on our behalf. He stands behind us guarding our walk with Him. Yet this takes on many forms. Of course, we know that it is Jesus who stands as the mediator between the Father and us, allowing us to come unhindered into His presence.
However, standing between the Father and us is not His only role, He also holds guard between us and our sin. Though our sin is fiercer and swifter than the very best of Pharaoh’s chariots, Jesus is the impenetrable cloud that keeps us from being consumed. Christ is our protective mediator, buffering us from the sin which seeks to claim our souls. What greater guard could we have than the risen Son of God!
Yet we could also add a third role, for He is also the separator of sheep from goats. Jesus is the great divide which stands between the people of God and those who reject Him. Wonder at the truth in this verse, Christ simultaneously both a light for the believer and a shroud for the reprobate. This is also why Jesus told parables, both to reveal and conceal the kingdom of God. Great will be the woe of those who reject Christ, for He will also reject them. Yet how vast the love and light of Jesus toward those whom He has chosen, for He is our guide and mediator before us and our protector and defender behind us.