I was reading in Exodus the other morning and the Lord spoke to me through His word.
31 During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the Lord as you have requested. 32 Take your flocks and herds, as you have said, and go. And also bless me.”
33 The Egyptians urged the people to hurry and leave the country. “For otherwise,” they said, “we will all die!” 34 So the people took their dough before the yeast was added, and carried it on their shoulders in kneading troughs wrapped in clothing. 35 The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. 36 The Lord had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.
37 The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Sukkoth. There were about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children. 38 Many other people went up with them, and also large droves of livestock, both flocks and herds. 39 With the dough the Israelites had brought from Egypt, they baked loaves of unleavened bread. The dough was without yeast because they had been driven out of Egypt and did not have time to prepare food for themselves.
40 Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt[b] was 430 years. 41 At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the Lord’s divisions left Egypt. 42 Because the Lord kept vigil that night to bring them out of Egypt, on this night all the Israelites are to keep vigil to honor the Lord for the generations to come.
17 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.” 18 So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea.[a] The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.
God led the Israelites out of Egypt. He could have taken them through Philistine country but knew they would face war and He didn’t want them turning back to Egypt. It was a shorter more direct route but the Lord didn’t take them that way.
By the time they had faced war after crossing the Jordan, it had been 40 years and who they were as a people had changed drastically. The “old” them had died and the new had come. They were 100% reliant on God, eating manna, and depending on Gods provision.
In your waiting season God is pruning the old. He is removing the old ways and things in your life so when you do face war you won’t go back to Egypt in fear but rather you will turn to Him and trust His ways. He has proven His trustworthiness to you and wants you to hold fast to him. You may still be waiting in the desert battling a season of unbelief, that the promised land God has for you might not be real.
I’m here to tell you that’s a lie. There is a Promised Land, and you are waiting because you are changing! If God had taken your broken self (Runnin with your dough on your shoulders and your sandal straps flappin, nothin’s packed right and you have no idea what is next in your life…wait…where’s my KID?! Oh, there you are…) on a short cut through Philistine country and through war, you would have never made it! And if you had you would not be equipped to handle it! Too many things had happened and he wanted to let them rest. He wanted them to have a time of rest to put some distance physically and emotionally between them and Egypt. If God gave you his promises now without the wait, it would not have been the blessing you were hoping for, but more of a burden.
I was reading again this morning and something I realized as I was finding my place and re-read this in Exodus 13…the people left Egypt EXPECTING WAR! They left there ready for battle, expecting to go the shortest most direct route not realizing that they were not ready to endure that sort of hardship. They were too weak in their bodies and Spirits and they weren’t ready to acknowledge God in all their ways to be the people, the model He wanted the world to see. When God takes you the long way around it’s not because he doesn’t want you to have His promises, it’s because he wants to equip you to handle the new level he’s bringing you to.
The day before he gave me a similar message in real life.
It was Monday of last week. I’d grabbed JJ early from school and my daughter was sick so the day was fairly relaxed. I wanted to swing by a thrift store to see if the umbrella I saw the other day was still there (it wasn’t) and from the back seat, there was a request for Taco Bell. I said okay and the cheering ensued.
The area right there is strange. It used to be two parallel two way streets that they changed into two one way streets, each going the opposite direction. Well where you get down to where it turns back into a 2 way street there’s this loop-around that will take you going back the other direction to reach stores on the other side. I passed the drive way to Taco Bell and there was complaining.
“MOM! Taco Bell is NOT THIS WAY!!”
“Yes, it is.”
“NO IT’S NOT! You PASSED IT”
I explained that I wanted to stop at the store first. They understood. But upon leaving this thrift store the same statements ensued. I was going the wrong way. Taco Bell was back the other way.
I said, “JJ, trust that mommy knows where she’s going. I can’t go back that way because it’s a one way street. If I go back, I’ll run into other cars and we’ll get hurt.”
And God said “Ironic conversation…”
I replied aloud with, “Yes, I see the irony,” which got me funny looks from my kids. As I started to explain what was happening, it was as if God was using my own words to speak to me:
“If I go around this way, there’s a stop sign and I can then go back up the other way. It may look like I missed it but I didn’t miss it, it’s just the long way around. We still arrive at the same destination, we just can’t go backward, only forwards.”
We can’t go backwards, only forwards.
We didn’t pass our destination but there was some things God wanted to equip us with along the way. Trust. Trusting in God with our lives, our path, our direction is the most important thing we can do. With trust, we know that even though we’re seeming to pass by what He promised us, we aren’t, we’re just going a different way. By the time we circle back around, we will have gained what God so desperately wanted us to learn and to know.
The journey grows us. It changes us into different people from when we began. It equips us.
You wanna know what is so beautiful about this long trip God took with the Israelites? When it came time to fight, God did their fighting for them. All he required of them was that they follow his silly instructions so He could prove to them in their own hearts that they trusted God enough to follow through on defeating the enemy on their behalf. Trust that God is equipping you to trust Him through the coming battle so you don’t have to lift a finger and going back the way you came is not an option!
Embrace the Change!! Let God heal you and mold you and make you into His trusting child so he can guide you into the Promised Land and you can claim your victory like I am about to claim mine! Trust that God can and WILL do it for you.