“God did not lead them by the land of the Philistines, although that was nearest”Exodus 13:17
Having such a great task ahead, one would expect that the shortest route would be the best. Moses had the task of moving more than two million people with their belongings and livestock from Egypt to the land given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob by its Owner. The shortest route would not have taken very long. If God’s objective was solely to get the people of Israel into the land, that is what He may have done but He had a greater objective. It is an objective He has for us as well. The people who would enter the Promised Land must be people who believed and trusted God and who would therefore obey Him.
The shortest way into the presence of the Lord for us is to die but God has a greater objective and for that there will be detours. Throughout the Bible we see that professed faith in God and Jesus Christ will be tested. The tests will either prove our faith genuine or false. If proven false it gives opportunity to have a change of heart to a genuine faith in the Lord. If proven genuine it is strengthened in readiness for the next test.
Do our tests cause us to draw near to God or turn us away from Him? When many of Jesus’ disciples were turning away from following Him, Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6:67-69). Like Peter, those who know Jesus for who He is and what He has done will not turn away from following Him when tested. They know there is no other way to experience eternal life except through Jesus Christ.
We may sometimes be a little displeased with God for the testing and the longer way, but the testing is so that we will know Him more and be more sure of our faith in Him. Relationships grow stronger when tested. God is preparing us to enter His presence. The longer routes of life are for the purpose of proving and growing our faith in Him. We know that everything we experience is for our good and God’s glory (Romans 8:28). Can you confidently say with John that you know that you have eternal life (1 John 5:11-13) and that your joy is full (John 15:11; 16:24; 1 John 1:4)?