Pastor Jonathan Falwell
Key verse: Exodus 13:18a So God led the people around by way of the wilderness of the Red Sea…
Exodus 13:17-18a (NKJV) Then it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God did not lead them byway of the land of the Philistines, although that wasnear; for God said, “Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.” 18 So God led the people around byway of the wilderness of the Red Sea…
1. Letting go is better than taking charge
Vs 17b …that God did not lead them byway of the land of the Philistines…
- The Philistines were lined up on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea on the border of Egypt
- They were a daunting military force which Israel would not have been prepared for at that time
- God had a very specific process for the Israelites as they begin this victory story
2. The easy way is not always the best way
Vs 17c …although that wasnear…
Vs 17c (NLT) even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land.
- The easiest and fastest route from Egypt to the Promised Land was the Via Maris which was the coastal road that was a fairly direct path
- The Via Maris would have led directly through the Philistine territory at a time when the Philistines were planning to expand their dominance
- The Philistines would have most certainly attacked a strange people walking through their territory
- And, the Israelites would not have been prepared for battle. In fact, at this time, it is likely they had few if any weapons with them.
3. God sees our potential weakness even when we don’t
Vs 17d …for God said, “Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.”
- God knew the Israelites would have been attacked and destroyed
- God knew the mental state of the Israelites would have led to a hasty retreat running back to what they knew, not what was best for them
- So why wouldn’t God just destroy the Philistines for them as He had done with the Egyptians when crossing the Red Sea?
4. God leads us on the path that will lead to His best, not our wants
Vs 18a So God led the people around byway of the wilderness of the Red Sea…
Vs 18a (NLT) So God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea.
- God knew the Israelites had much growing to do in order to fully trust Him and become the people He wanted them to be
- Had He led them directly into the Promised Land without the wilderness experience, it is likely the Israelites would never have become as fully dependent on Him as they could have
- The narratives found in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy and Joshua clearly show a people needing to follow God’s path, not their own