The God of the less direct route

I was reading today concerning my favourite people of God – the Israelites of the Old Testament – and once again I couldn't help but wonder about the ways of our God. Ways that truly are not our ways.  Higher, loftier, wiser than ours according to His own words.  But let's be honest, we sometimes just don't get His reasoning.  It's like He's speaking another language.

At the beginning of Deuteronomy we see the Israelites to the east of the Jordan River on the cusp of entering into the land promised to them by God. Moses recounts in chapter 1, verses 2 and 3 “Normally it takes only eleven days to travel from Mount Sinai to Kadesh-barnea, going by way of Mount Seir. But forty years after the Israelites left Egypt, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses addressed the people of Israel, telling them everything the Lord had commanded him to say.”  A forty year detour to do an eleven day trek!  Unbelievable!  One might wonder if it was a man at the wheel refusing to ask for directions!!

It is true, that part of the reason the trip was extended by years was a direct consequence of their disobedience of not believing God and taking Him at His word.  Fear won out over faith. And that, my friends,  will always take us along a roundabout wilderness path.  In this particular case it translated into 40 years of putting in time, waiting around for people to die. But that is actually only part of the story.  Exodus 13:17,18 clarifies that at their point of departure from Egypt "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.'  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."  This then gives us another clue into God's way. He is not so enamoured with the shortest route, or the road more travelled. God had other plans.  He ultimately knew that the eleven day hike would not be in their best interest, that they really weren't ready yet for the next thing on the agenda.  So He, with great deliberation, led them along the scenic route.  A cloud by day and fire by night.   Proof positive of His daily Presence with them, leading them along the long and seemingly nonsensical way through the wilderness.  I know that for me, I normally do not choose the wilderness for myself but have known times when God has divinely chosen it for me.  It is often in those times, that God best captures my attention to prepare me for the next thing.  So the next time I might be tempted to opt for the shortest, fastest, most travelled road, may God remind me that He is often the God of the less direct route and be simply satisfied that His presence is with me.  For however long it takes.  You see, with God, the  journey is just as important as the destination.

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost


  1. Powerful stuff. Your thoughts and words bless me today. Thank you.


  2. Brenda you are amazing I love your insight to God's word. I say YES, YES the road less traveled is a blessing and the road that we walk with God right beside us. God is using you to bless so many and know that you bless me. love and preyers Bea


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