Exodus 13: The Long Way Home
God knows the human heart. The Israelites haven’t even left Egypt, and God already knows that they are going to forget Him. In chapter 13 we read how God establishes the Passover supper and consecration of the first-born, ritual reminders that their God is mighty to save. Rituals that God knows alone won’t keep them from forgetting. He needs them to experience Him. 430 years of suffering in Egypt and now God wants to go the long way home – just for the experience!
“When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter.” v.17a
The short way didn’t allow time for the Israelites to experience God. The rituals would be followed, obstacles encountered, and God forgotten. Instead, He delivers them to the edge of the desert, establishes his presence in a pillar of cloud and fire, and invites them to experience Him in the wilderness.
The reality is that God rarely delivers us the quickest way from a difficult season or circumstance. He uses the journey to display His love, grace, and power to us so that we can experience more of Him. That doesn’t make the wilderness an easy place to be, but it does make it worthwhile.
For each of us, the situation we have or are hoping to be delivered from is different. Our wilderness experiences with God will be too. What matters is that we embrace every opportunity to experience God so that he is not forgotten in our ever-busy lives.
Remember that even as God told Moses that the final destination for his people would be good, Jesus promised the same.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
Am I seeking God in my wilderness or just looking for a way out?
Is there anyone I know in a wilderness experience that I can walk alongside and seek God with?
Is what you know of God rooted in ritual alone (attend church, say grace, celebrate Christmas/Easter…) or reinforced with experience?