God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. Exodus 13:17
As his peers were promoted one by one, Benjamin couldn’t help but feel a little envious. “How come you’re not a manager yet? You deserve it,” friends told him. But Ben decided to leave his career to God. “If this is God’s plan for me, I’ll just do my job well,” he replied.
Several years later, Ben was finally promoted. By then, his added experience enabled him to do his job confidently and won him the respect of subordinates. Some of his peers, meanwhile, were still struggling with their supervisory responsibilities, as they had been promoted before they were ready. Ben realized God had taken him the “long way around” so that he would be better prepared for his role.
When God led the Israelites out of Egypt (Exodus 13:17–18), He chose a longer way because the “shortcut” to Canaan was fraught with risk. The longer journey, note Bible commentators, also gave them more time to strengthen themselves physically, mentally, and spiritually for subsequent battles.
The shortest way isn’t always the best. Sometimes God lets us take the longer route in life, whether it’s in our career or other endeavors, so that we’ll be better prepared for the journey ahead. When things don’t seem to happen quickly enough, we can trust in God—the One who leads and guides us.
How might God be strengthening you by letting you take the “longer way” in life? How can you remind yourself to keep trusting Him?
Loving God, You know how I feel when things don’t seem to happen quickly enough. Grant me the patience to trust in You and in Your sovereign plan and purpose.
After more than four hundred years of slavery in Egypt, the march to the Promised Land for the children of Israel begins in Exodus 13. In this act of departure, both a prophecy and a request are fulfilled. The prophecy was delivered by God to Abraham at the establishment of His covenant with the patriarch. In Genesis 15:13, God warns that “for four hundred years” Abraham’s descendants would be “strangers in a country not their own and . . . enslaved and mistreated there”—but God would deliver them from that oppression. That deliverance is realized here in Exodus 13. In Genesis 50:25, Joseph requested that his remains be taken to the land of promise and be buried there. Exodus 13:19 tells us that this request hadn’t been forgotten by his people. Joshua 24:32 records the burial.