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Shemot/Exodus 13:17 After Pharaoh had let the people go, G-d did not guide them to the highway that goes through the land of the P'lishtim (CJB)
Why didn'tHaShem lead our people straight out to the Land by the shortest and most direct route? The text goes on to answer the question: G-d thought that the people would be frightened by having to fight so soon and might change their minds and try to return to Egypt. Looking at our progress through the desert and the number of times we disobeyed, rebelled and grumbled, G-d's concern looks right on target.
Have you ever noticed that G-d doesn't go about things the way we would? Sometimes, what seems to us to be the obvious way forward is simply passed over in favour of something that we think much less attractive. But we shouldn't be surprised for G-d tells us that, "'My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,' declares the L-rd. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts'" (Isaiah 55:8-9, NASB). G-d encourages us to seek His ways, "Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you shall find rest for your souls" (Jeremiah 6:16, NASB). The prophet Hoshea adds, "For the ways of the L-rd are right, and the righteous walk in them" (Hoshea 14:9, NASB). Micah speaks of the nations who will say, "Come and let us go up to the mountain of the L-rd and to the house of the G-d of Ya'akov, that He may teach us His ways and that we may walk in His paths" (Micah 4:2, NASB).
Yet we don't seem to be very good at hearing that message. When our people came back to the Land after the exile in Babylon, we set about building our own houses while the house of the L-rd was still in ruins, so that the prophet Haggai said, "Thus says the L-rd of Hosts, 'Consider your ways!'" (Haggai 1:5, 7, NASB). G-d even had to criticise the Levites before the people because, "you are not keeping My ways, but are showing partiality in the Torah" (M'lachi 2:9, NASB).
In fact, the Bible records that, "G-d, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son" (Hebrews 1:1-2, NASB). G-d spoke to people of His ways in many ways, calling them to leave their ways and follow His ways. When Yeshua came, He made quite a remarkable statement: "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life" (John 14:6). So G-d's way is Yeshua; those who follow Yeshua exactly are sure to be walking in G-d's way. In the years that followed the Resurrection, the followers of Yeshua became known as followers of The Way (Acts 9:2) as they put into practice His teaching and lived according to His Torah. They no longer followed the derech eretz, the way of the land, but the derech Yeshua, the derech Adonai.
Further Study: Psalm 25:4-7; Lam 3:39-40; Luke 10:2-9
Application: Which way are we walking on? Are we following the broad, smooth way that leads to destruction or are we on the narrow way, the way of faith, following the footsteps of the Master who is the way?
© Jonathan Allen, 2004
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