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.


Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph had made the sons of Israel swear to do this. He said, ‘God will certainly come to help you. When he does, you must take my bones with you from this place.’


The Israelites left Succoth and camped at Etham on the edge of the wilderness. The Lord went ahead of them. He guided them during the day with a pillar of cloud, and he provided light at night with a pillar of fire. This allowed them to travel by day or by night. And the Lord did not remove the pillar of cloud or pillar of fire from its place in front of the people.


Then the Lord gave these instructions to Moses: ‘Order the Israelites to turn back and camp by Pi-hahiroth between Migdol and the sea. Camp there along the shore, across from Baal-zephon. Then Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are confused. They are trapped in the wilderness!’ And once again I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after you. I have planned this in order to display my glory through Pharaoh and his whole army. After this the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord!’ So the Israelites camped there as they were told.” Exodus 13:17-22, 14:1-4 (NLT)




The Israelites were leaving behind a life that had become familiar to them. As they were leaving Egypt, God was still directing them. After significant challenge, Pharaoh had finally agreed to let the Israelites leave Egypt. As the people were leaving, they were walking into a very uncertain season of life. They didn’t know exactly where they were going. Although it seemed like the shortest road to the Promised Land would be the best route, God took them the long way around. He knew the short route would derail their faith. God did not want them to go back to their past lives in Egypt. On the long road, God caused Pharaoh to change his mind and chase the Israelites. The long way around wasn’t going to be easy. The Israelites’ enemies were chasing them, the Red Sea stood as a barrier, and the wilderness was on the way to the Promised Land. The reality was that they were on the right road even though there were difficulties. Even on the long way around, God was going to show the people His faithfulness, power, and provision. It was just going to happen differently than they expected.


When we are traveling through our lives, we usually want to take the shortest route. We figure that moving from point A to point B should occur in a straight line. However, sometimes God takes us on the long road, because He is wanting to stretch our faith. He is wanting to do something in our hearts instead of just making sure that we reach our destination. Many times when we are on the long way around, it can become discouraging. You thought you heard from God and made a decision. Maybe you made a significant career change or moved across the country. In the midst of living your story, it can sometimes unfold differently than you expect. We weren’t anticipating the setbacks, the battles, or the heat of the wilderness. Just because the road is long doesn’t mean it is the wrong road. Maybe God wants to display His glory on your long road. It might be for you, but it might also be for someone else. God might be allowing you to be part of a divine miracle by  bringing you through your own “Red Sea” on dry ground. The Israelites eventually reached the Promised Land; it just wasn’t on their original timeline. If you are on the long way around, know that God can still lead you to your destiny, even if it happens in a roundabout way.

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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About Hona Amer

I help people live life to the fullest. Check out my book, Smart Work U. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. In order to receive updates, subscribe below.




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