A Roundabout Way

A Roundabout Way

25 January 2021

Jim Stephens

Reading: Exodus 12-13; Psalm 21; Acts 1

17 When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land. God said, “If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” 18 So God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea. Thus the Israelites left Egypt like an army ready for battle. (Exodus 13:17-18 NLT)

The Israelites could have reached the southern edge of the promised land in a couple of weeks if they had taken the shortest route from Goshen, in Egypt. Instead, God led them a roundabout way toward the Red Sea and the Sinai Wilderness.

God knew the people weren’t ready to make a full-on assault on the Philistines to begin taking over the land. They didn’t yet have the necessary discipline and the necessary faith in God. They still needed some time, some teaching, some training, and some demonstrations of God’s presence, his power, and his provision. So God led them in a roundabout way.

Seems to me that not much has changed for God’s people today. I know there are times when God has to lead me in a roundabout way to get me from where I am to where he wants me to be. It takes a lot longer than it seems like it should. I wonder if he gets frustrated with me, or if he just expects it because he “remembers that we are made from dust.” For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust. (Psalm 103:14 NLT)

Whatever the case, I’m thankful for God’s patience with me! I’m thankful that he is always with me on the journey, no matter where I go, and no matter how long it takes to get there. I’m thankful for the lessons I learn and the miracles I see along the way. And an important lesson that I learn more and more through the years is that life is mostly about the journey, anyway!


Father, I trust your wisdom to determine whether to lead me on the shortest route or on a roundabout way. I trust your provision and your protection on the journey. Please don’t give up on me! I want to get to the place you have purposed for me, no matter what route you decide is best and no matter how long it takes to get there. Your purpose is what I’m living for. Amen.

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