We get to see a little of God’s map for the children of Israel. He didn’t just leave them to make their own way out of Egypt. HE planned their route and showed them the way.
Ok, I’m going to admit right here that there is not ONE perfect agreed upon map that can show me the distance between the places sited by the Holy Spirit for God’s word or even their EXACT locations. When googling the distance between Succoth and Etham I noticed this problem right away. One group of maps show me a fairly northern route that takes the children of Israel to cross the Red Sea using the Gulf of Aqaba. Another group doesn’t have them crossing the Red Sea at all, so we can rule this group out entirely. There is a third group that has them using a very southern route and crossing the Red Sea at the Straits of Tiran. This third option has them traveling a MUCH greater distance between the identified points.
WHICHEVER route they actually walked, God went before them. They didn’t need a map or a guide showing them the sites along the way. Moses had been in this wilderness before but even he didn’t presume to know where God would lead this mass of people.
I’m wondering if the pillar of fire/smoke went before them on their first night out of Egypt or if it began at Succoth. Also, how did they know to follow it instead of run away from it? Was Moses drawn to it in the same way he was drawn to the burning bush in the wilderness?
Whichever way God took the people and whatever drew them to His “compass” to begin with, God KNEW this people. He knew their faith was hanging by a thread. He knew they might LOOK like they were ready to take on the world, but that their hearts were not in it. No, life in Egypt was no picnic but they would return to it if they felt threatened in any way. They were NOT ready to fight their way into God’s promises. So He took them a longer route where HE would fight for them instead. But that’s a story for a later day.
This great company of people moved both day and night. When I think about the size of this group I see them move like traffic. When the light changes to green it takes a while for the people in the back to finally get to move. When the light changes to red the people in the back are the last to stop moving. More like an inch worm’s progress. This was a MASSIVE group of people to move about and without clear direction they could and probably would scatter to wherever their hearts took them.
Father God, thank You that You DON’T leave me to figure this world out on my own. You do lead and guide me daily. I don’t have as clear of a “compass” as the children of Israel had but I have a closer relationship than they had access to. My “Pillar/Compass” lives inside me. He is Your Holy Spirit. When I listen to Him I am NEVER lost or taken to any “battles” before I am fully prepared for them.
You KNEW this group of people intimately and KNEW they were not ready yet to step into the fullness You called them to. They needed time to grow. They also needed “jacked up and put a new one under them” before they were ALL ready. We know the rest of the story, but being in that crowd that day as they moved from slavery to freedom left a LOT of unanswered questions for them.
I know how scary it can be for me moving into a new direction with You. This group left ALL they knew in order to follow where You would take them. I wonder if they held an “I can always go back if things don’t work out” attitude. Is that why You would so decisively close the door behind them in the near future? You didn’t just make their nest uncomfortable, You ripped it to pieces before their very eyes (later on anyway).
Help me see and follow the directions You are leading me in my life WITHOUT the need for the added push. Be my “compass” at ALL times!