01 Aug God’s Strange Yet Faithful Guidance
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”.
- 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.
- How can you see and follow the guidance of God without a visible pillar of fire/cloud?