The Way of the Wilderness

God’s ways challenge my trust.

images“Then it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God did not lead them by the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near, for God said, ‘Lest perhaps the people will 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” (Exodus 13:17-18, emphasis added).

The Lord delivers Israel from the cruel grasp of their Egyptian bondage and promises to deliver them to the land promised to their fathers. But the route that He chooses for Israel to take will require additional time and cover more territory. This scene offers a number of truths about God and His ways:

  • People freed from bondage need God’s continued guidance.

  • God rarely steers His people down the easier path.

  • God always leads man with man’s good in mind.

  • God is less concerned about the expediency of the journey than He is the faith development of those on the journey.

  • Impossible situations that require God’s intervention pepper the path of those whom He leads (the Red Sea, the wilderness, the inhabitants of Canaan, etc.)

Two passages come to mind that reveal the importance of understanding God’s ways:

“For forty years  I was grieved with that generation, and said, ‘It is a people who go astray in their hearts and they do not know My ways‘” (Psalm 95:10, emphasis added).

“For whatever things were written before were written for our learning that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4, emphasis added).

God leads people today no differently than He led people in the past (God’s ways are predictably unpredictable). Therefore, we may trust Him today as we navigate the way of the wilderness. The way that He leads requires my complete trust.