God often takes us around life scenarios and so thankful that He does! The around of God is frequently dismissed or downplayed. We learn from our early flannel graph days the miraculous parting of the Red Sea and God taking the Israelites through on dry ground. Miraculous indeed! However, tucked in two short verses we have the potential of missing a quality of God. In Exodus 13, we see God take the Israelites around, around a potentially icky outcome. He had just delivered them from bondage in Egypt – Pharaoh finally releases the people. Once out and about, the narrative states: “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.” So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea.” (v 17,18 NIV – emphasis mine)
God took them around so they wouldn’t encounter the Philistines (yet). They weren’t ready. This was their first road-trip with God; He didn’t want to freak them out, didn’t want them to bolt and run. Once deep in the wilderness, what is one of their main complaints, “WHY did you take us out of Egypt…” When things got tough, they reached for what was familiar, what seemed safe. It is also said of the Philistines that IF they had encountered the Hebrews at THAT time, they would see them as escaping from their masters and would not hesitate to attack them and make them slaves AGAIN. We can liken it to suddenly encountering a dangerous animal, we are NOT to take off running; the running stimulates their instinct to chase and conquer. The Philistines would have chased and conquered.
God took them around. The principle for us, just like the Israelites, we may never know the around of God. What He protects us from and what we may not be ready for. God knows! It is HIS path, HIS when and where. He leads – He protects.
When we see God pointing in one particular direction, in our freedom, may we not stop and look for the short-cut! What is ahead on that path, we may not be ready for and there may – just may be another wanting to take us captive.
The around of God.
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)
Recently I was encouraging a dear friend that I admire her, ‘throughness’, though not perfect in any sense, but she doesn’t shy away or back down from God taking her in the direction He sees fit. That means no shortcuts – but right smack through the stuff. It is evident in her life that she takes notes, doesn’t have her head down, but looks at the scenery with the one goal, “What am I to learn here.”
There are over 450 mentions of ‘through’ in scripture (in various contexts) there are also times around came first. Like the Hebrews exiting Egypt, when Pharaoh finally released them, “God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter… He lead the people around by the desert to the Red Sea.” (Exodus 13:17-18, emphasis mine) He knew they were not ready to encounter the Philistines (yet). This was their first field trip with God, and He didn’t want to freak them out. So what did He do next? With the Egyptians in hot pursuit, He takes them through the Red Sea. Can you imagine the wide-eyed look on the faces of God’s people as they walk right down the middle? The very cool part, God took them through, but their enemies when attempting to follow were destroyed.
Their learning journey had only begun. Long story short, their goal was Canaan, Egypt to Canaan, the shortest route would have been approximately about 250(ish) miles and could possibly be done in about 11 days. Eleven days turn 40 years. God taking them through the wilderness, they learned of God’s character: He provided quail, manna, water, they received the law, built the Tabernacle, and learned sacrificial offering.
As I am meditating on this, I sense God speak to us to be thorough in our throughness, meaning – learn what we can! To this day, the Jewish people after thousands of years remember the Exodus, the wilderness and celebrate God’s faithfulness. God has a reason, a reason for around and His goal is to, that to, leads to through. It is in the through that our enemies are destroyed, in the through there is deliverance, in the through we learn of God’s character. May we not seek shortcuts, let’s face it folks, we may not be ready for what’s there, in the shortcut.
I am challenged, thorough in my throughness. Taking notes.
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)