I was doing some reading on the Israelites and their trip across the desert to find out why in the world it took them so long to get to the Promise Land.
Do you ask that sometimes on your own journey – What in the world is taking so long?!
Here is what stuck out to me to begin with…
When God told Moses He was going to set them free, He didn’t give them the direct route. That route would have been full of war and God knew the Israelites were not up for that kind of trouble right off the bat.
From the beginning, the detour was by design. God was protecting them from the very start of the journey.
However, the route that was taken butted them up against the Red Sea and when they saw that the Egyptians were coming after them, they felt like they were trapped!
Have you ever felt that way?
Sometimes freedom feels like a trap.
They looked at Moses and were like, Seriously??!!! You brought us out here to die? Did you not think there were enough graves in Egypt?!
We go to make a change that is to set us free from whatever is enslaving us – a toxic relationship, a work environment, whatever it is – and then we get away and think, well this isn’t what I thought it was going to be!
I love what Moses said to the people and then what God said to Moses.
Moses said – Look you gotta just trust God and be still.
And then Moses turns around to God and God says – Look you gotta just trust Me and move on.
Well now that seems like two contradictory statements. Moses is like – Hey you need to be still, and God is like – Hey you need to move on!
Here is what I believe just happened.
When we get in that trapped state of mind, we get into our Fight or Flight mentality and think something has to be done so I am either going to run to the hills or I am going to stand here and fight.
Moses was trying to get the people to take a deep breath and be still for a moment so they could hear God’s guidance.
And then God was saying – Good, now that you are still and can listen, I need you to move on. Trust me, I got this! I’ve got your back!
Speaking of backs, listen to this…
In order to guide the Israelites and to let them know He was right there with them, God put a visible sign in front of them. It was a pillar of clouds during the day and a pillar of fire at night.
But get this!
When God had their attention and told them to move on, He took the pillar of clouds and stuck it behind them so they couldn’t see the Egyptians any more.
I think this is so cool because there are times when God says – I just need you to follow Me and so He guides from the front by making the path visible to us. And then there are times when we have moved on and He scoots around behind us to block the past from catching up to us.
It’s like He knows what we need!!
So yes, sometimes our freedom feels like a trap. But what God is asking us to do is to be still and listen for His guidance so we can move on.
And not only is He in front of us preparing the way and guiding us, He is also behind us to protect us from what we are getting away from so we don’t turn around and go back.
It’s beautiful, isn’t it?!