Then it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, “Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.” So God led the people around by way of the wilderness of the Red Sea. And the children of Israel went up in orderly ranks out of the land of Egypt. Exodus 13:17-18 NKJV
With each passing year, I despise road trips more and more. I love going on vacation, but it is the getting there that wears me out. Stand-still traffic, a meal that takes too long, and various stops. We used to be the stop and shop type, but now we just want to be there already.
Aren’t most of us like that with our journeys in life? Lord, let’s end this illness today. Remove my mess now. Isn’t there a shortcut, God?
When we peek in on the children of Israel as they left Egypt, we discover that God chose the scenic route for their trip to the promised land. Let’s dig in and find out why God favors detours, not just for Israel, but for us today.
God knew His chosen people weren’t ready for battle. Before reaching the land of the Philistines, they would have to pass through many Egyptian fortresses. According to the MacArthur Study Bible, these fortresses monitored the comings and goings of travelers in and out of Egypt. Pharaoh would surely have them stopped. Even if they had slipped through the fingers of the Egyptian forts, they weren’t prepared to meet the mighty Philistine armies. The long way to the land of milk and honey was the safest route.
God also knew their hearts, as He knows ours. Fear would overwhelm them and they may turn back before they faced the dangers, as we often choose to do.
Their faith might have waned. When we are walking in God’s will, and the road gets bumpy, we cannot fathom why God allowed all the potholes. Shouldn’t our journey be smooth? It’s what God planned. Why can’t God plan trouble free navigation? And why haven’t we reached our destination yet?
God knew their hearts quite well. They avoided all the fierce armies and encounters, but they still resorted to complaining and murmuring. No water. God supplied water from a rock. No food like the Egyptian delicacies. God rained down manna.
Friend, let’s take a moment today to remind ourselves that God has a reason for our detours. I don’t appreciate the waiting, but let’s remind ourselves that God is our pillar of fire and our pillar of cloud. We will follow where He leads.
When we find our paths have no end in sight, instead of complaining, let’s accept it as God’s blessing in disguise. He has something in store for us on this route. Accept it with true contentment, realizing it is God’s best for us.
Are you on a seemingly endless journey today? Trust that God has you there for a purpose.
Heavenly Father, we thank You for leading us. Forgive us when we grow tired and begin to complain. Help us remember, this is the best possible route for us, potholes and all. In Jesus’ name, Amen.