(In 2017, I wrote this series for the 40 days prior to Easter to prepare our hearts and minds for the significance of Jesus’ resurrection. I’m reposting the series now for the 40 days after Easter to encourage us to follow through, living in the risen Savior and King.)
“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. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.” (Exodus 13:17-18)
To me, this is one of the most amazing and beautiful passages of Scripture.
After just having taken them through the 10 plagues and crossing the Red Sea without even a scratch (yet using the same to crush their enemies), God had every right to demand their full faith and obedience to go through Philistine territory, kicking butt and taking names.
But He didn’t.
And, make no mistake, God wasn’t fearful that He might lose His newfound followers if He took them into the bad part of town.
God truly doesn’t need any friends- you or me or anyone else.
I mean, seriously, what could we possibly “add” to the perfect fellowship of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit? That would be like “adding” old bologna and cheese sandwiches on stale bread to a meal fit for kings and queens. Yeah, right.
The Lord was being graciously patient with their weak faith and probably weak battle skills.
Yes, they were EQUIPPED for battle with all types of materials the Egyptians had given them. But that didn’t mean they had the skills and confidence to use them against a trained and hardened adversary.
The Father’s greater goal for His adopted children was that they learn to walk with Him. And at that point, they were just learning to crawl.
It was and is a Father’s love. He takes us and loves us and leads us from wherever we are to where He wants us to go. And in God’s case, that destination is always a deeper relationship of following Him by faith for joy in Christ (who was pictured in every detail of the tabernacle).
God has been so patient with me in my recovery – much more patient than I’ve been with Him.
I’m so tired of being tired. I want to get out and see people NOW. I don’t understand why my breathing is so labored and shallow, why I can’t do ANY form of exercise other than walk for very short distances, why it took me two weeks to stop coughing, why it still takes me 10-20 minutes just to poop!!
Lord, can’t You go any faster than that!?
But God often has different goals than mine (or yours), so He has different timelines to fit those goals.
He has promised to grow my knowledge of His heart, my faith in Him, my joyful obedience to Him, and my real willingness to die to self for His glory knowing that – in those daily deaths and resurrections to newness of life – I will discover Life and Love that is Jesus Christ, the Savior and Lord of my soul.
Those probably won’t happen over night.
I guess I can wait. 🙂