God's Detours

I was reading in Exodus today and this verse just kind of jumped out at me.  Exodus 13:17 says "When Pharaoh did 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."

I have always believed and known that God leads us and to be honest, have wondered occasionally about how He leads.  Sometimes in my abundant wisdom, I have thought to myself 'Surely there must have been a better way.'  What I realize now that perhaps I never considered before, is that there are always unknowns in any given situation.  And in my mere mortality, I am not privy to what those unknowns might be.

But God - now He has that whole omniscient thing going for Him and so He knows everything.  That's why he lead the Israelites the way that he did when they were leaving Egypt.  You see on paper...in this case a map...there was a better way to go.  The Philistine road was obviously the shortest route.  But God knew that they would experience conflict and even be attacked on that route and he knew that if this were to happen, the Israelites would be bummed out and turn around and go back to Egypt.  It was going to be bad enough taking them on the desert route...imagine if some war had been thrown in there.  God really dodged a bullet for them there!

Detour Ahead.  God sees the bigger picture.  It is comforting to know that when God leads us, he doesn't just choose the most expedient route, but instead he sees ahead...he anticipates danger or discouragement or trouble...avoids pitfalls...and leads us in the way that is best if we will listen to his voice.

Romans 8:28 says "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."  And this is how he does it.  He works behind the scenes, not just leading us toward good things but also leading us around things that are potentially dangerous and detrimental to our well being or our spiritual health.

The hard part is trusting Him enough to listen to His voice and follow His leading.  Especially when we think we know a better way.

So what can we do?  We need to trust God completely and listen to hear His voice.  We need to listen because if we don't, we can't hear what He's saying to us.  And we need to trust because if we don't, then we will challenge and question whenever God's way seems to contradict logic or expediency.

So when you see a sign that says 'Detour Ahead', remember that its not there just to make you alter your course for no reason. It is there to help you avoid possible danger and even injury or worse.  Just like God's detours.


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