There have been times in my life where I’ve wondered why God guided me along a certain path. At the time it didn’t make sense, but later I began to see the wisdom in some of these diversions. In some cases, He steered me away from something I wanted to do and ultimately saved me a lot of grief.
I see this playing out when the Israelites first left Egypt. In Exodus 13:17, God had them avoid the land of the Phillistines even though it was closer because, “The people might change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.” They had lived for more than 400 years under Egyptian rule and had no experience in defending themselves against a seasoned army. So he had them take the long way, “by the way of the wilderness to the Red Sea; and the sons of Israel went up in martial array from the land of Egypt (13:18).”
God’s wisdom is evident when the Egyptian army shows up to pursue the Israelites. In Exodus 14:10-12, the Israelites see “the Egyptians were marching after them, and they became very frightened.” They immediately regret leaving Egypt: “Is this not the word that we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness (14:12).” But God shows them His path and His power. He demonstrates who they should trust when he creates a path for them through the Red Sea.
© 2022, Chris G Thelen