Why the long way?

When God delivered the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt, the plan was to lead them into the land He had promised them called Canaan. Now, there were two routes to get there, a long way and a shorter way. The shorter way meant that the children of Israel would have to pass through the land of the Philistines; and for that reason, God chose not to take them that way.

17 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.” 18 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. (Exodus 13:17-18, NLT)

If God had taken the Israelites the quickest way, He knew that they would turn back in fear. By taking them a longer route through the wilderness, He was creating an opportunity for the people to grow in their faith, to trust Him and to know Him better. In the future, they would have to face battles, but for now God knew they were not yet ready.

When God gives us a promise, He often will take us the long route in order to forge His character in us. He is a good father and He does not want to see you turn back to the very bondage He has freed you from; therefore, He deliberately takes you through the wilderness, so you can learn to live by faith in Him.


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