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God’s Wonderful Providence

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One of the most familiar stories of the Old Testament is God’s deliverance of His people from Egyptian captivity (Exodus 1ff). Not only is it a fascinating story, but there are numerous lessons to be learned. Here is one we glean about the providence of God.


In Exodus 13:17f Moses records: “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.”


Obviously the shortest route from Egypt to Canaan would have been around the Mediterranean coast and then northward. However, God knew that route would lead to war which His people were not physically or psychologically ready for at the time. Thus, He sent them in a direction which they could handle best.


To our knowledge, the children of Israel did not know why God did not lead them in the straightest direction. Being the complainers they often were, many of them probably fussed about going “the long way around.” Yet, the proper response would have been to trust in the providence of God and know He was always going to do what was best for them (cf. Deuteronomy 6:24).


“Providence” might be best defined as the “provide - ence” of God. In short, it is God providing and caring for our needs in His own way. Not only did He provide needful things for the Israelites in the long ago- - He does the same for you and me today (James 1:17; Romans 8:28). What a wonderful blessing that is!


Yet, if we are honest, there are times that we wonder why God sends us “the long way around” in life when we feel there is a shorter and simpler route. But the answer to such wondering is found in this passage. God knows the problems with every route and He knows whether we can or cannot handle them. So, rather than complain and question the wisdom of God, we would do well to simply trust and be thankful for His wonderful providence.


As Solomon instructed: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).