When God Takes You the Long Way

Bridge, long way home

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. - {Exd 13:17-18 NKJV}


I am reading words I've read a hundred times before. Exodus. The long road from the joys of creation to the fascination of the kings, and sometimes I treat it like drudgery.

Yes. Sometimes reading through the Word of God is sheer obedience. I don't want it to be so. I'm not proud of my dull senses and need for thrills, of my addiction to high definition and fast-moving plots.

I love the history of Kings and Chronicles and Acts, and I need the practical wisdom of everything Paul has to say.  But Exodus?  Again?

I lose the wonder of it sometimes but the Word is living and sometimes, sometimes, it's like reaching into an old coat you've stored for the summer and finding $20. I love that.

This morning I escaped Egypt again and found some timeless truths:

  1. Timing. God knew the Israelites needed time to gain some courage and adjust to freedom from Egypt. They weren't ready for battle just yet.
  2. Direction. They needed to learn to take orders from God, rather than their task-masters. He gave them a breather by taking the long way around the Philistines, but they had to follow God rather than a to-do list. No more quotas to fill, just pillars to follow.
  3. Compassion. He really did see their weakness and vulnerability. He sheltered them and shepherded them and gave them victories along the way, but He was all the while teaching them how to live with their freedom. Because freedom is dangerously good, and slavery is a deceptive security, a predictable safety.

He sets you free all at once and little by little and you have to go through all the steps, travel all the routes, double back sometimes and gain the victories.

Today I'll repeat the same cycles as yesterday: cook it, eat it, clean it, repeat. Teach it, show it, learn it, repeat.  We'll travel this upward spiral with it's dizzying monotony but we can rest. Rest in His timing, His direction, His compassion. 

Like Israel, I have opinions about what God should be doing, about the route we should be taking. Like Israel, I complain and say stupid things and remain thick-skulled about lessons I should have already learned. I have to go the long way, sometimes.

Good thing He knows my destination, even if we take the long road. I'm putting off the task master of the quickest route and trusting Him today.

Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous things from Your law. - {Psa 119:18 NKJV}



Linking with Imperfect Prose, lowercase letters, Titus 2sdays, The Wellspring, Growing Home, and Soli Deo Gloria