Then it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, “Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.”
So God led the people around by way of the wilderness of the Red Sea. And the children of Israel went up in orderly ranks out of the land of Egypt.
And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had placed the children of Israel under solemn oath, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here with you.”
So they took their journey from Succoth and camped in Etham at edge of the wilderness.
And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night.
He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people.
~ The Exodus chapter 13 verses 17 to 22 ~
The Israelites when they wandered in the wilderness clung to the promise of God that He would lead them to the Promised Land. That one day based on the promises of God they would finally go home.
But what kind of promises the Israelites have when they were wandering in the wilderness? What kind of promises did they hold on to although deliverance appeared impossible? Although the oppressors were always cracking the whip on them? Although they did not have visible evidence at all of relief from bondage?
Deep within their hearts, in the fabric of their beings they long for Canaan, the Promised Land. They long for a place they can call home. But they had nothing but the oppressors lash, the slap of the whip. They had nothing but bondage, slavery and oppression.
How did they get through all these? They clung to the promises given to them by the prophets. “I am the Lord; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgements. I will take you as My people, and I will be Your God. Then you shall know that I am the Lord Your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.”(Exodus 6:6,7)
Our trust is never misplaced when we trust in the promises of God. God is a God of Truth and He stakes the honour of His throne on His promises. His promises are true and secure as His throne. His word is as certain as Heaven itself. His word is forever sincere. And when the challenges of life seem overwhelming to you and to me we can cling to the promises of God.
The story of Israel being delivered from The bondage of Egypt is the story of salvation. It is “our” story. You and I are under the hand of the oppressor. We are in the enemy territory. We all have the lash of the tyrant whipping us day by day and beating us into submission. But the promise of God rings true. He is the Jesus that will rescue us. He is the One that will deliver us. He is the Christ that will come for us to deliver us from our bondage and free us. He is the God that will take us to our Promised Land.
There are times in our life where we will walk in the wilderness, through dark valleys and ravines. There are times in our life when we walk through difficult experiences. And there are times in our life when the clouds of despair are around us and we have little to cling to except the promises of God.
But the promises of God are enough. For they give us hope, bring us joy, and put light in our eyes. God’s promises put smiles on our faces. They are the splash of bright colours in the dreary paintings of our life. The breath of fresh air in our polluted sinful environment. All of these and more of these, because God’s promises are true. And because of His mercies we are not consumed for God’s compassion do not fail. They are new every morning. (Lamentations 3:22,23)
When God miraculously works in your life, deliverance does not mean that there will be no more hardships. Miraculous deliverance does not mean freedom from difficulties. There will still be wilderness to get through. But that is the beauty of life. That is how we get stronger in faith. This is how get spiritual muscles. And spiritual muscles must be constantly used or they will waste away. Faith is like a muscle. It needs to be exercised.
When God leads us, we are not free from difficulty, trials, and temptations. Was God leading the Israelites? Absolutely. Did they have evidence of His leading? Were they given pillar of clouds by day and pillars of fire by night? Were they given food from heaven literally? Definitely. But did God’s leading mean that they were to have easy lives while immigrating? Not at all.
So if you are going through any trials in your life it does not mean that God is not leading you. It means that He is leading you in the most gracious way possible, in the most merciful way possible to develop faith in your life and deeper trust in Him.
So God led the people around by way of the wilderness of the Red Sea. And the children of Israel went up in orderly ranks out of the land of Egypt. – Exodus 13:18. God led the people. They have trials but He is leading them. They have difficulties but He is leading them. They have challenges but He is leading them. When Israelites were in the wilderness God is still leading them.
Are you in the wilderness? Is He still leading you? Sure thing.