(Exodus 13:17-18) Then it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, “Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.” So God led the people around by way of the wilderness of the Red Sea. And the children of Israel went up in orderly ranks out of the land of Egypt.
~When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt armed for battle.
Shortcuts are seductive because they are appealing and inviting. Shortcuts caress our pride, stroke our ego, and garner immediate gratification.
Shortcuts are attractive to your clever side because you think that with enough ingenuity and smarts you can bypass the normal rite of passage.
~However, the downside of shortcuts is that their promise of a faster way may be short-circuiting God’s best. Just because it is easier does not qualify it as the will of God. In fact, ease of execution may be evidence against God’s will.
~Instead, a season of suffering may be His plan (1 Peter 4:19).
~So, do not depend on circumstances alone as the compass of where God is leading you. (Philippians 4:11-13)
~Do not underestimate His wisdom in taking you through this laborious and sometimes painful process. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
~It will be worth the wait because it is the process that is preparing you for His next steps. If you rush through the process you may miss God’s best (Jeremiah 29:11)
~He is unconventional in His approach. This is the nature of God, for He will not be hemmed in or backed into a corner. God’s glory is your goal (1 Corinthians 10:31).
~The shortcut is tempting, but it may be more complicated than you can comprehend for now. Its complexity will certainly compound if you have to backtrack from the shortcut and start all over again.
It is much better to wait and do this once and for all. There will certainly be adjustments along the way, but have faith in God that He is facilitating His will even if some of your questions remain unanswered. He’s got your back even though the enemy may be breathing down your neck whispering words of doubt. God is in control. It is much better to take the longer route with God than the shorter one without Him.
(Acts 16:35-36) When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: “Release those men.” The jailer told Paul, “The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace.” Thoughts for Today: There are many interesting dynamics at work here (the jailer, his family, the magistrates, business people in power who started the whole thing, the Jews, the believers, etc).
When I read Scripture, I like to pause for a minute and try to imagine what it would be like to personally be involved in the story. I wonder if one of the magistrates woke up the next morning and said, “Oh no, what did we do to those guys? I got caught up in the moment and allowed those business people to influence me. Paul and Silas didn’t really do anything wrong, I hope they don’t sue us, we better let them out of jail right now.” Perhaps one of the new believers (Lydia?) had applied political pressure to get Paul and Silas released.
If Ms. Carole had been arrested on false charges, beaten and thrown in jail, you can be sure I would be making phone calls and working all night to get her out of prison as well. But what about Paul and Silas! — how do you think they felt the next day when they got the word — “Now you can leave. Go in peace.” I don’t know about you but after being stripped naked, severely flogged and beaten, spending the night in jail locked in chains, then being released — my initial reaction would be relief which would then turn quickly to anger and indignation. How did Paul and Silas handle this situation, allow yourself to be them for just a moment — how would you feel and what would you do about it?
Questions to Ponder: It’s easy to be Christ-like when there is no persecution, beating, or false imprisonment. Would you go in peace or would it be pay back time? What does the Bible say about standing up for and defending our rights and the rights of others? What would you do? What would you want done by others for you?
When taking short cuts, you may want to take matters into your own hands…Wait on God.