Photography and Article by Curtis Beaird
17 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt:
18 But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt.
19 And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you.
20 And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, in the edge of the wilderness.
21 And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:
22 He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.
Thankfully, we can count on God’s leadership. Not only does he make a way. He also shows us the way.
And, that way can be surprising.
When “Pharaoh let the people go” in Exodus 13:17, the scripture tells us that God “led them” in the direction they should go. However, He led them home not by the shortest route, He led them by the safest route. He chose the longer route “by way of the wilderness” rather than “the way of the Philistines” for a kind and generous reason.
God is not only considerate of his children, He knows us well. Sometimes, when the tired and weary meet enough resistance, they change their mind and return to a former misery. This was the case with the recently freed Hebrews. God was concerned that “when they see war, they may change their mind and return to Egypt.” The way of the Philistines, while a shorter route, meant a battle the Hebrews were not prepared to face. The way of the wilderness, while longer, was the safest route and the one that their caring God chose.
His leadership was unmistakable. Its evidence was something that everyone could see; and, was understandable to all. God chose to be present in a cloud, a garden-variety everyday cloud.
“And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud to lead them in the way…..He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day….from before the people.” Exodus 13:21, 22.
Thankfully, we can count on God’s leadership. Not only does he make a way, he also shows us the way.
Note: I was thinking that I needed an appropriate picture to demonstrate this blog post; and, when I walked outside, the above picture is what I saw.
Copyright 2015, Curtis and Norma Beaird. All rights reserved.