When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle. —Exodus 13:17-18

The Lord did wonderful things in leading the people out of Egypt. They had just seen ten miraculous judgments take place on the Nation of Egypt. But the people were not ready to face particular experiences yet or they might change their minds and turn back to Egypt. So the Lord guided them away from such experiences like war so they would not turn back. So instead of going the shorter way through Philistine country He took them on the desert road toward the Red Sea.

There may be shorter ways to accomplish what God wants to do in our lives, but He knows that those shorter ways may include obstacles that could discourage us and so He takes us on the longer route instead. The longer way is for our benefit, even though it might not seem like it— especially here in the U.S. were people want things “right now.”

Our responsibility is not to forge out the path to walk, but to follow the One who has blazed the trail for us. Jesus said, “Follow Me…” and not “Take the lead.” He is the One leading. He is the “author and finisher” of the “race marked out for us” and we are to keep our eyes fixed on Him (Hebrews 12:1-2). So it matters not if we are going the long or short way, what matters is if we are following Jesus. When we keep our eyes fixed on Him we are on course! Keep your eyes on Him!

Dear Father, may I keep my eyes fixed on Jesus and follow Him. Thank You that You have not left me to find my own way, but to follow Jesus. May I do so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus.

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