God’s Strange Yet Faithful Guidance

God’s Strange Yet Faithful Guidance

Deacon Hui Zhen - 16 April 2015

Apart From God, We Have No Good Thing

All English Service

It’s plain truth that everyone has needs or desire. While we don’t find ourselves lacking of money to buy the bare necessities, lacking of place to sleep, or lacking of clothes to wear; sometimes we do feel the need to have something else: - we desire to be happy in life, in our work, in our family and among our friends. Sometimes it just doesn't come to us, and we’re troubled by them instead - we want to be freed of troubles and challenges, because they cause us a lot of inconveniences, making us having to do something outside of our comfort zone, or potentially shortchange us. Sometimes we wish certain things never happen, so that we can go ahead with our planned schedules, but it just aren’t like this in real life - and it is also true that we desire to love and be loved by people — but sometimes, when facing this real issue of the heart affair, we do not know if we should heed it, or reject it. we sense that we need it, but we do not know if it is correct to need it - sometimes, we desire to be understood by others - especially our family, our good friends and our co-workers, especially when we do or haven't done certain things - some people, and i believe a lot of people who are serving God, desire to serve God and bear fruits of their serving, so that they can be encouraged to go on. - we need to quit doing certain bad habits - it could be smoking, it could be drinking, gaming, or some sorts of bad habits, but sometimes knowing this need is good, we still can’t bring ourselves into doing it. Sometimes, having certain desires met, for eg, you’ve gotten the recognition.. you thought you need it, but while you’re happy for a shortwhile, very quickly, you realise that you are trapped in another cycle of struggling to keep up with that need… and eventually, finding ourselves losing all our joy and in a discontented state. And have you ever asked yourself, your heartfelt need today (whether is the desire to be recognised by your bosses & colleagues, the desire to have a spouse, the list goes on…) is it truly what you need today?

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<Exodus 13>

17 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.” 18 So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.

19 Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the Israelites swear an oath. He had said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place.”

20 After leaving Sukkoth they camped at Etham on the edge of the desert. 21 By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. 22 Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.


Strange: Led them on a detour when there was shorter route.

  • Few days/weeks journey >>> 40 years


Why God’s guidance was so “strange”?

1) God know things we don’t <v17>.

  • Danger unbeknown to us.
  • Our faith level, what we can bear and what we can’t.
  • Yes, God will stretch us, but not “over-stretch”.


2) God was setting the stage for His greater victory and Pharaoh’s bigger defeat.


The best way is not the shortest, fastest or easiest way, but God’s way.

  • “Shortest” may become “furthest” from the Promised Land.
  • What is important is not shortest, but “safest”.
  • “Hard” way may be the “easier” way.
  • Longer, harder way >>> learn to completely rely on God, build faith and resilience.
  • Longer, harder way >>> better manifest God’s glory.
  • Even if God gives us shorter, faster, easier way, will we surely follow God?
  • It is not whether the route is short/long, easy/hard, BUT whether we are guided by God.
  • Do not only aim for “fastest” way in evangelism.
  • Be careful of letting a person serve in important position too fast.


Must not be too quick to grumble.

  • Sometimes when look back, we may even thank God for not answering our prayers.
  • Learn to find reasons to thank God for certain detours.
  • Wherever God leads us, His presence will be with us.
  • He will not keep us in the wilderness forever.


Our problem: Hard to see God’s guidance without a visible pillar of fire/cloud.

  • God wants us to restore living by faith, not by sight.
  • We received what is better than pillar of fire/cloud: Holy Spirit and God’s word.
  • Holy Spirit guides not just outside us, but within us.
  • God’s word is light and fire <Ps 119:105; Jer 23:29>.
  • Not true that it is easier to follow God if we have the visible pillar.
  • The problem is never “God didn’t guide us”, but “we didn’t follow Him”.



  1. Can you find any reasons to give thanks for the detours you went through in your life? Why is the fastest and shortest way not always the best and safest? Share how you have confirmed that God’s way is the best way.
  2. How can you see and follow the guidance of God without a visible pillar of fire/cloud?
Preacher Hui Jun
[email protected]

Huijun serves as Secretary of The Blessed RUN Ministries. She is also the Preacher at The Life Church and Missions (Singapore). She graduated from Singapore Bible College and currently lives in Singapore with her husband, Chengji.

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