God purposely did not immediately lead the people straight to the promised land, which by the way, wasn’t empty!! (See Deuteronomy 1:19 and beyond for a recap of what happened thus far in their ‘going into the land that God promised them’ journey.) They had to go and TAKE IT from the people who were there!! They were going to go to war. But here, in Exodus 13:17-18, God’s Word says plainly that God knew them. He knew they needed to be made ready in order to do what they were to do. They needed to know who God was (and is!) and build trust in Him and His appointed leaders. (First Moses, then Joshua.)
Even though they all experienced being released from slavery in Egypt ‘by a mighty hand’ (Remember those plagues starting in Exodus 7? The willing plunder of the Egyptians to the Hebrew people of their things so that they would be gone in Exodus 12:35-36? The magnificent crossing of the Red Sea AND the defeat of the Egyptian army that decided to chase after them in Exodus 14?) Do you remember who provided for those recently-freed-from-being-enslaved people in all of those great acts? The Lord. This was the Lord’s chosen people. This was the Lord’s plan to save. This was the Lord that protected and guided them all along the way. But they were terrified. They kept looking to their past and the comforts of familiarity from when they were enslaved. It took time but they had to learn who God was and learn how to trust Him in the face of fear and the unknown. It really didn’t make sense that they could defeat mighty, well-trained armies and kings as they were on their way to take over the land God had promised them – but they did. (This started with the amazing fall of Jericho in Joshua 6.) (It doesn’t make humanly sense to us but I’ve learned that His ways are not our ways!) They conquered not through their own might and power but by God’s mighty hand. When God says He will do something, He will do it. They had to learn that and so do we, even today. When will we learn to believe the Lord? To know who God is and to trust Him with our lives- what does it take? At some point we each will need to take steps of faith towards God. These steps don’t start off huge (for most people). God knows who we are (people with flaws) and yet HE provides the Way for us – through Jesus. John 14:6 (NIV) says, “I AM the Way and the Truth and the Life. NO ONE comes to the Father except through me.” (Emphasis mine.) Why has God made a way for you (and for me)? Because He loves you and cares for you. John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”
The more I understand this fact, realizing that God did it all and He has provided it all, the more I am in awe at who He is. I am so thankful and grateful for God, for all that He has done for me. I take a step forward with Him in faith. And He is with me all along the way. My trust in Him has deepened over time because I continue to move forward with Him and I end up doing things like this – sharing about Him to others. I can’t help it sometimes. (What God does through you will likely look different from what He does through me. This is a testament to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives equipping the body for His work. See 1 Corinthians 12.)
When I think about the Lord… who am I to keep from sharing what He has done for His people back then and even now today – just look at me – He is amazing.
Thank you for knowing me Lord. (Ephesians 1:3-14) Thank you for saving me. (Ephesians 2:8-10) Thank you for providing for me and for preparing me for whatever is next. It might not be easy but I trust you. I trust you now today with a deeper understanding of who you are. I believe you are good and it is for a purpose that you work in and through me that many might be saved. (1 Corinthians 10:31-33). I willingly cooperate in this work you are doing in and through me. I want to continue to grow with you Lord. Help me to do this better. Amen.
Finally, there is a song on repeat stuck in my head as I type this out on my phone. I was doing my Bible reading this morning, getting up early to spend this time with God (I have tried many different times but this seems to be the best way for me to have uninterrupted quality time with God in this season of my life. You must discover what is best for you in your season of life.) and I came across this passage. It made me pause. I wanted to bookmark it in the @YouVersion app to share later but then I thought I might forget the connections that came to my mind so I thought I’d jot down some notes. And now, as you can see, I wrote a lot of words! I just kept going and going and going and now I will copy this and share it in other places online. Perhaps someone else might be encouraged by these thoughts today. I don’t know what others need but God surely does. He is always at work. I am so thankful that I can join God in it!
So finally, that song is “When I think about the Lord – Christ for the Nations.” You can find it on YouTube but let me post a link here.
Would you let me know if this encouraged you today so that I can praise God with you for how He works? Thank you!