Exodus 13:17-18 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, “if they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led the people around by the desert road towards the Red Sea. The Israelites went out of Egypt ARMED FOR BATTLE.
When I read the above scripture, it struck me with a strange code. The children of Israel had been enslaved for over 400 years. And now God had come to their rescue. They had seen HIS MIRACLES…and the fact they were leaving Egypt not only as freed men and women, but also heavy laden with silver and gold was in itself...THE GREATEST OF MIRACLES. But something else seemed to preoccupy their minds more than the fact that they were now a freed people: WAR…as strange as it may have seemed…the Israelites left Egypt armed for battle.
But wait a minute. What made them think they were ready for battle? In any case, they were slaves and slaves are people who don’t know how to fight for themselves. What made them think since now as freed men…they were capable of waging war? Yet, God knew the answer…He knew that even through from outside they seemed ready for battle…in their minds any form of violence could easy trigger the memories of Egypt and the desire to go back there. Therefore, with this knowledge, God sent them through the longer route…where of course…there was no enemies to combat except themselves.
You see, just like the Children of Israel…God may have sent you to the WILDERNESS. The wilderness is not a place where there is much of activity going on. The wilderness is a place where only you can face yourself as you really are without any obstacles or opposition. But as Christians, we hate wildernesses. We think if we are at the place of invisibility then God has stopped working in and through us. We kick, we grumble, we cry and yes, we almost curse God. The children of Israel also did they part.
However, the truth is…without the wilderness…you cannot die to self and fully yield to God. Moses learned his lessons there. Without the wilderness…you cannot fully resist the temptation of the evil one; Jesus could not bow to the wooing of Satan after his wilderness experience. Without the wilderness...you cannot learn how to fight; The Israelites learned after 40 years that the battle will always be the Lord’s.
Has God sent you into a wilderness? Stay put and learn your lessons. Are you trying to take the shorter route to your destiny? A shorter route doesn’t mean you will reach your destiny in time. My prayer is that each church and Christian should accept their seasons of wilderness and learn as they go. The choice is your, as alway!