I have been meditating on the Book of Exodus (from our Daily Reading Bible material for SG) for my daily devotion. One thing which struck me was that in Exodus 13:17-18, God led the Israelites out of Egypt to the Promised Land via a major detour, which eventually spanned 40 years. He led them around the land of the Philistines, through the wilderness, although it would have been much faster to go through the Philistines’ territory. Why?
The reason was that He knew the Israelites would change their minds if they saw war in the land of the Philistines. God sometimes takes us on long winding detours because He knows we are not ready for the destination. He is a loving Father who wants the best for us, and knows His children so well as to plan a journey suited just for us. It could be success, rest or glory: there often will be seemingly difficult circumstances before we can reach it. He knows exactly how to prepare us to reach the destination.
It is also about the spiritual destination as much as the physical one. Soon after God brought Israel out of Egypt, He expressly declared that He would provide for Israel (rest, food etc.) but that He would test Israel on whether they would follow His commands. Sometimes, the commands concerned the gifts He provided to Israel. It took many years for Israel to mature in their relationship with God. God is concerned with our physical and emotional well being, but He is also extremely concerned about the state of our relationship with Him: they are not separate, it is the latter which makes the best of the former. And often God leads us on detours to help us mature in our spiritual relationship with Him.
From this, I am reminded that our God is a loving Father who knows each of us, where we are now and where we’re supposed to go. Would we dare to trust Him to lead us on our life journey, even through life’s detours?
By Ronald Wong, Deacon (YCKC Bulletin 11&12 April 2015)