When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. (Exodus 13:17)
Detours are a significant part of God’s plan for our lives; they always have been and always will be. After our Lord had freed His people Israel from their bondage in Egypt, He took them through one of His divine detours. Instead of leading them on the road through the Philistine country, which was the shorter way toward the Promised Land, God brought them to the Red Sea, where the people appeared to be trapped between the sea and Pharaoh’s pursuing chariots. But what looked like a dead end that would end in death became a glorious, divine detour leading to their deliverance.
The biblical principle is clear: the road of life cannot and will not always be straight, smooth, and easy. God is in the business of taking us through divine detours. Think back to some of the times when God showed up big in your life, especially when you felt like you were standing in front of your own Red Sea with no way to cross to the other side. But now, as you look back at that divine detour, you can see how God led you to that place in order to lead you through on dry ground to a better place, just as He did for Israel.
And that’s not all! God not only delivered you, He destroyed whatever was chasing you down. Perhaps it was a health concern or a difficulty at the office or a challenge in school or a season of loneliness and disappointment. Whatever it was, God delivered you. He delivered you then and He is delivering you now.
Are you facing a divine detour today? Maybe you are wondering why God would allow this to happen to you and why He would lead you into this “bad” situation. Worry no more! God has brought you to this place in order to put His power, His glory, and His majesty on display in your life. Remember, God is always working everything together for your good, but that doesn’t mean that everything in your life will “feel” good. He will often lead you to a divine detour where you cannot go forward or backward. And that is actually a great place to be! That’s true because at such times the only way out for you is up. Look up to Jesus today, knowing that He is using every divine detour in your life to ultimately bring you to your Promised Land.
One final point regarding today’s passage: God’s divine detour for the Israelites lasted forty years. Here is another biblical principle that springs forth from their story: It was far easier to take the people out of Egypt than it was to take Egypt out of the people. Just as the people then moaned about how they wished they were back in Egypt, we too look back over our shoulder and think about embracing sin, like Lot’s wife turning to look back at Sodom. Therefore our divine detours may last for some time, because it takes a long time for God to bring us to the end of ourselves..
So the next time you feel you are being diverted into a divine detour, look up! And know that your God is looking down at you with love.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!