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, “Lest the people change their minds when they see war and return to Egypt.” But God led the people around by the way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea. And the people of Israel went up out of the land of Egypt equipped for battle. (Exodus 13: 17-18)
God has just rescued His people from 430 years of slavery. He could lead them straight to the promised land. He could give them the Lamborghini before they learn to drive. He could make it easy…but He leads them through the wilderness instead.
He brings them out of slavery: equipped – but directionally challenged.
He brings them out of slavery: safe and free – but children in a big, bad, new and beautiful world.
He brings them out of slavery to learn to trust the One that leads.
And The Lord does lead them.
You shall serve the Lord your God, and he will bless your bread and your water, and I will take sickness away from among you. None shall miscarry or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days. I will send my terror before you and will throw into confusion all the people against whom you shall come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you. And I will send hornets before you, which shall drive out the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites from before you. I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the wild beasts multiply against you. Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possess the land.
He provides for them.
And He teaches them
for as long as it takes to wring the slavery from their hearts.
God doesn’t change. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. And He leads us still.
Little by little,
step by step,
taking as long as it takes to wring the slavery from our hearts. Slavery to fear. Slavery to regret. Slavery to all the ways we’ve let our feet stumble along the way.
Our Good Shepherd equips us with everything we need along this wandering path: His rod, his staff, his quiet guiding Word.
He never leaves or forsakes us.
He leads us and guides us.
He prepares each day the good works for us to walk in.
From strength to strength, he walks beside us,
first, to the Cross
then, past the rolled back stone… He shows us the way, because He is the Way
straight back to the heart
of the One who loved us first.
Jesus, thank you for putting up with all of me. I will follow after all of you.