Divine Detours & Staying The Course

Have you ever made plans and then they got derailed for what seemed to you like no apparent reason? Then you tried to get back on track… Tried to “course correct”… And still nothing?

I have.

As a Christian I believe Romans 8:28.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.

Or, some Bible translations say:

And we know that everything works together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.

For that reason,  I have to remind myself to look at these deviations from the path I set out for myself, not as inconvenient annoyances (though I’ll be honest, that’s usually my first reaction to them), but more so as divine detours.

Divine detours that are appointed by God for a specific purpose.

I’m on one of those divine detours right now. I’ve tried to course correct and it hasn’t worked but my Bible study and quiet time over the past couple of days kind of put things in perspective for me.

Exodus 13:17–14:4 tells the story of the wilderness detour the people of Israel took (in accordance with God’s divine direction) when God delivered them from slavery in Egypt.

Verse 17 says that God did not lead them along the main road even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land.

He had a very good reason for not doing that… That same verse says that God said if the people were faced with a battle (i.e. a battle with the Philistines, whose land they would have had to pass through), they might change their minds and return to Egypt.

Going back to Egypt was not an option… He was taking them to somewhere better. He had made them a promise of something good. There’s no way He would let them go back.

So he led them in a roundabout way, through the wilderness toward the Red Sea.

But wait… I wonder how this looked to them. Imagine it… they were heading “toward the Red Sea”. They were heading through a desert toward a big huge body of water…

I personally would have been freaking out, primarily because I don’t know how to swim… Well, actually, in my head I believe I can swim, I understand the mecahnics of how to do it… I just can’t float. I can only imagine that they too had their own individual reasons for freaking out…

So anyway, Pharaoh and his army end up coming after them, they (the Israelites) all panic and turn to Moses, Moses tells them to just “hold your horses and calm down already!!”, then Moses panics and turns to God (okay, he doesn’t really panic, but he does turn to God), and God says to Moses “tell them to get moving!!!”

Okay okay… I took a lot of creative liberties in my summary of the story but you can read it for yourself 🙂 

The point I’m trying to get through is what happened in the rest of chapter 14 – Exodus 14: 5-31.

The people of Israel, who had been taken on this divine detour, are literally caught between the big Red Sea in front of them and Pharaoh and his army behind them…

What to do???

Nothing… Just watch God work it out. And this is a word for me and you if you’re on a divine detour as well.

God told Moses to hold his staff and raise his hand over the sea. The sea then parted and formed walls with a path in the middle that the people of Israel were then able to walk through and get over to the other side.

And that’s the part of the story I want to focus your mind on now. God pulled through for His people.

He wasn’t late (though I’m sure they thought He might have been), and He set things up to deliver them in a way they would not have expected. He had a good reason for taking them off what seemed like the logical path and instead made a way for them that not only accomplished His purpose (freeing them from slavery in Egypt), but also, kept His promise to destroy the folks who were chasing after them.

What started off looking like a crazy mess ended up being a faith-building experience for them.

And that’s what our own divine detours will be… IF we allow God to work things out for our own good and not try to manipulate our way through or out of them.

The sitting and waiting and trusting is hard. It’s very hard sometimes… 

But for God.

So I’m yielding to Him on this divine detour and trying to grow closer to Him, rely more on Him, trust more in Him, and learn more about Him in the process.

Oh yeah… Pharaoh.

Pharaoh and his army followed them into the sea on the dry path but God told Moses to raise his hand over the sea again after the Israelites had all passed through safely. So Pharaoh and all his men ended up getting swallowed up by the sea and each and every one of them died.

Bad ending for them, but for those of us who love Him and are called according to His purpose, all things will work out for our good.

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