“…The pillar of cloud also moved from the front and stood behind them.
The cloud settled between the Egyptian and Israelite camps…
But just before dawn the Lord looked down on the Egyptian army from the pillar of fire and cloud, and he threw their forces into total confusion…”
Exodus 14:19-20, 24
The flannelgraph Bible stories of my childhood usually depict the Cloud out in front of the Israelites, leading them through the wilderness. However, there was one time in the story when the Cloud moved behind them! When ALL of Pharaoh’s army chased after the Children of Israel and trapped them at the Red Sea, God quickly changed His stance and settled between them and Pharaoh's army. Covered by the Cloud, they became invisible to their enemy!
From His position in the Cloud, God protectively watched over His children, and at the same time He kept a close vigilance on that huge army. A few hours later when those forces tried to pursue their target into the Red Sea, God looked down on the Egyptian army from that Cloud and promptly threw all their mighty forces into total confusion!
The Cloud of God’s presence that went ahead to lead the children of Israel through the desert also came behind to protect them from their enemy. We may not literally see that Cloud today, but as David wrote, “…You, oh Lord, are a shield around me…” Whether behind, ahead, beside, or hovering over, our God is on patrol. No matter what border has need of protection, we can be sure of this: we are surrounded!