When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land. God said, "If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt." Exodus 13:17
It is interesting that you are picking this devotional up when we as a country celebrate Memorial Day. It is a solemn day to remember the sacrifice those that gave their lives so we could be free. When those young men and women went into battle, they were focused, brave, and committed to the mission. They were given orders by their commanding officer, and they followed through no matter what the cost. We are so thankful as a church for those who gave everything so we could have the freedom to worship.
Sometimes when we follow God, we have no idea where He might lead, much like a soldier that may not understand the full scope of a battle plan. We may have been convinced that we are on the right path only to experience twists and turns. It could have been that there was a much quicker way from point A to B, but God directs us on a journey to help us to learn and grow. In this situation, the Israelites had been in captivity for 400 years, and they were not yet prepared for what was ahead. God intentionally led them into the desert in order to teach them some critical lessons. He took what could have been a two-week journey and turned it into a 40-year road trip. God put this detour directly in their path because He knew that they would quickly abandon their faith if they took the shortest route. It is through this long, arduous journey that the Israelites and their children were prepared to follow God.
In the same way, you might have experienced some of the same twists and turns in your own life. It could be a career change later in life that was unexpected. You had planned on being with a company for years, and then you found out your position was eliminated. It might have been that you were done raising your own kids and ready for your golden years, only to have to take in your grandchildren. Maybe it was a routine doctors visit that found abnormal test results, leading to a battle with cancer. How we respond to these twists and turns is a true test and catalyst that produces faith. How can you trust God during the twists and turns along your journey?
We would like you today to pray for the families who have experienced the loss of a loved one who has died in our armed forces. In your journal below, write out a prayer for these families. Ask God to walk with them as they journey through the unexpected loss of a son, daughter, spouse, or parent. Pray that God would continue to overwhelm them with His presence as they experience grief and sorrow.
Read Exodus 13:17-22 (NLT)
When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land. God said, “If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea. Thus the Israelites left Egypt like an army ready for battle.
Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph had made the sons of Israel swear to do this. He said, “God will certainly come to help you. When he does, you must take my bones with you from this place.”
The Israelites left Succoth and camped at Etham on the edge of the wilderness. The Lord went ahead of them. He guided them during the day with a pillar of cloud, and he provided light at night with a pillar of fire. This allowed them to travel by day or by night. And the Lord did not remove the pillar of cloud or pillar of fire from its place in front of the people.
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