Following God is seldom quick, safe, or easy. God’s plan seldom aligns with ours. In fact, from our vantage point, He often seems to be making several strategic errors.
It always seems like there is a quicker way than the one God chooses. There probably is a quicker way but we aren’t prepared for it. We are tempted to think that God has called us to do something, so the faster we can get it done the better. That is seldom true. God is more concerned with creating the person than executing the plan. What God wants accomplished, He can achieve with anyone or anything at any time - even a donkey (Numbers 22:21-33) or a pile of rocks (Luke 19:40).
God takes time to prepare the person. Moses spent 40 years in the desert, Paul was in the desert for 3 years, and even Jesus spent 30 years preparing before taking his ministry public. It takes time for God to prepare the person and He knows when we are ready for the task. There was a quicker way out of Egypt for Israel, but they weren’t ready for it. They would have had to fight and they weren’t trained. Because He knew them and what they were ready for, God led them along a longer route.
Difficulties and obstacles also arise in the path. The two we face the most often are people and circumstances. We see a person who opposes us and worry ourselves sick about them. If it’s not a person, the circumstances we face terrify us. Sometimes it gets really bad and the two collide in an acid reflux inducing, insomnia laced, perfect storm.
That’s the situation Israel faced. The most powerful man in the world was leading the army of a superpower to chase them down. They were not prepared to fight and the path to run was blocked. God sees farther than we can and provides options that we do not recognize. When you say “impossible”, the noise you hear in response is God’s laughter.
God takes His time to lead us down the long road so we can come to the end of ourselves. When we finally arrive, we find that He has been sitting there waiting on us the entire time.
1. What is God’s assessment of the Israelite’s emotional state? How did he allow for that? With God having defeated all the gods of Egypt (see 12:12), why do you think the Israelites were afraid of one more battle? Would you have been fearful too?
2. How equipped were the Egyptians? The Israelites? How did that make the Israelites react (14:6-12)?
3. What is the one “sea wall” or “pursuing army” you fear most in the coming week? Why this? How is God leading you up to this point: In circles? In the dark? Through fire? Or do you feel abandoned by those you’ve trusted?