Daily Devotion for November 11, 2016

'The Way of the Wilderness'

Exodus 13:17-18,21-22 NAS
Now when Pharaoh had let the people go, God did not lead them by the way of the land of the Philistines, even though it was near; for God said, “The people might change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.” Hence God led the people around by the way of the wilderness​ ​to the Red Sea; and the sons of Israel went up...The Lord was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.

Have you ever wondered why the Lord was allowing you to go through something? Have you ever been perplexed because God was taking you through “the way of the wilderness?” Have you ever questioned the Captain—Jesus Christ—as He steered your ship into difficult waters? I have—many, many times...

Whenever my “ship” is steered into difficult waters, I take great comfort remembering the story of God's people coming out of Egypt. That is, God took them through “the way of the wilderness” for HIS perfectly good, protecting, right reasons—and He always has perfectly good reasons for ours! His revealed reasons for them were...1) His people couldn't handle what they would have faced on the “near” way, 2) They were not mature enough in faith to face the challenges of the “near” way, 3) Their faith in God would have faltered (gone backwards!) on the “near” way! 4) The people needed to learn to better cling to Him, cry out to Him, and wholly depend on Him...

Brothers and sisters in Christ, when we look back on the “wilderness” ways our Lord has already​ ​brought us through, can't we see some of these same good reasons?

In addition, how beautiful to be reminded that God was “going before them” in “the way of the wilderness”—so the way He chose for them was already KNOWN, PREPARED, and MADE READY​ ​by Him (this also is true for us!)! Moreover, He was their “cloud” leading them and guarding them by day (and as we follow God's Son, He leads and guards us!). Furthermore, He was their bright​ ​“fire by night to give them light”—they could SEE the way they were to go (God's Word and Spirit enable us to see even in the darkness! We see just far enough to safely take the next step, to go the right direction!). Yes, how wonderful to have the reminder of the cloud and the fire—clearly the Lord is always with His people—even in the wilderness! He does NOT take away His presence when He steers our ship into deep waters, for “He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people”...

Lord Jesus, we Believers never like heading into the “wilderness,” but when You steer our ship into difficult waters, enable us to confidently remember...1) You take us through the “wilderness” for Your perfectly good, protecting and right reasons! 2) The way You choose for us is already KNOWN, PREPARED, and MADE READY by You! 3) You are WITH us—as we follow You, Your Word and Spirit will lead us, guard us, and help us see even in the dark! In Your name we ask You help us stand on these truths! In Your name we ask for our “wilderness” to bring about Your good and perfect purposes! Thank You, Lord, for being such a wonderful Savior, and for being in complete control...

AMEN!!!

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