Have you, like me, ever wondered why God does not transform us instantly when we give our lives to the Lord Jesus and become Christians? We have accepted His invitation to receive all the blessings that Jesus won for us on the cross. Why do we not immediately lose all our sinful ways and bad attitudes? Why do we not get immediately healed from all our diseases and emotional wounds? The Bible tells us that we are being transformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18). So, why does He not do it all at once?
Although the book of Exodus is a true story, and there are many things we can learn from it about God and ourselves, the story of the Israelites being set free from slavery in Egypt may also be likened to us being set free from the power of Satan and the Kingdom of darkness. Jesus called Satan the ruler of this world.
The Israelites were going to the new land flowing with milk and honey, which is a way of saying a land of plenty which God had promised. However, it took many years to get there. Forty, in fact! We are also going to a ‘promised land’, which, for us, means becoming like Jesus.
In today’s passage we learn that, although the Israelites were ‘like an army ready for battle’, God knew that they might well change their minds and flee back to the known difficulties of Egypt rather than face war with the strong Philistine army.
Therefore, He led them a ‘roundabout way through the wilderness.’ Gosh! So, although it sometimes seems a real battle to get rid of sin in our life and appropriate our healing, it could apparently be an even tougher battle if God did it all in one go.
The forty years that it took for the Israelites to enter the land was partly their own fault, because of their sin. But it was also partly God’s mercy, because of their weakness. So sometimes it can seem a long process to appropriate the healing and the blessings God has for us, but He knows best. We just need to be willing, and seek to stay close to Him, as He leads us.
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