“When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near. For God said, “Lest the people change their minds when they see war and return to Egypt.”” Exodus 13:17
It must have been frustrating for Israel to know how close they were to the land God promised them and see the direction God lead them. In their minds, it made no sense to detour toward the Red Sea then into the wilderness before entering the land of the Canaanites and the Philistines. From their perspective, God’s leading seemed wasteful, inefficient, and contrary to the promise he made them. But God knew better. He knew had they entered the promise land right after leaving Egypt, the Israelites would not have had the faith in God to fight and conquer the land. This happens so often in our own histories. We are so close to something we feel God calling us to, whether it be a ministry opportunity, a new job, a family breakthrough, or any number of things, and then God leads us another way. It can be frustrating to be so near the promised land of our calling and then take a detour into the wilderness. During the times of wilderness wanderings, we must savor the truth of God’s perfect perspective. Just as he knew the strength of the faith of Israel, he knows our own hearts better than we do. He knows if we will stand firm in our calling or run screaming for the hills. He knows what we need to face before his promise in our life is fulfilled. So for those who have entered the land of Canaan, stand firm in your faith and be worthy of the calling. And for those who God has led into the wilderness, stand firm in the hope of God’s perfect perspective and learn well the lessons God is teaching.
Lord Jesus, let us hope in you in all circumstances, knowing that your perfect perspective and complete knowledge of things is trustworthy!