Have you ever taken a short cut only to find yourself….lost? That 5 minutes you were saving has long expired and been replaced with 30 minutes extra! Sometimes I wonder when I’ll realize that taking the familiar road isn’t so long after all.
There’s a similar story in the book of Exodus where God took His people, the Israelites, the long way around. However, His plans are always perfect and hidden in this “long-cut” lay a lesson about Himself….
Exodus 13:17-18 says, “When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, ‘If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.’ So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea.”
Did you notice how God didn’t lead the Israelites the short way? He intentionally took them by the long road, lest they see difficulties and turn back. But do you remember what BIG THING lay on this “long road”? Yes, the Red Sea. God knew full good and well it was approaching. He didn’t panic when Moses reached the edge of land and the people were wailing, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die?”. God didn’t look to Jesus and say, “Shoot! I forgot about the Red Sea! Holy Spirit, pull up the GPS map and see where they need to go from here!!” No, God had a plan.
So if God’s in control and He’s intentionally, on purpose, divinely guided his people to the edge of disaster, what are they supposed to do? What is He doing and WHY? These are the kind of questions I ask when faced with my version of the Red Sea. Verse 15 of Chapter 14 answers it best. “The Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.” Then in verse 18, God explains part of the why…. “The Egyptians will know that I am the LORD when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horseman.”
If you haven’t noticed, to just keep walking when the road ends takes faith. Abundant faith.
God’s ways are higher than our ways, so we can’t always know WHY, but we can rest in the fact that He knows. Maybe He has us here to refine us, or meet the needs of someone around us, like the Egyptians in the example above. It could be just to bring Him glory. It’s not because God needs an ego boost, but because the sooner we focus our eyes on Him and take the spotlight off ourselves, the more satisfied and abundant people we will be. That’s just how He created us, how He knit us. We have an insatiable NEED for God. Only when we come to that realization and yield to it can we walk through the water that threatens to flood our path. Circumstance don’t catch God off guard. He’s not reeling and searching GOOGLE to find the answer to my problem. He’s in control of it. He’s at the helm. He’s the CREATOR.
“Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Ex 13:14) Will our hearts obey Him when we hear Him saying that to US?