Can’t you hear the Israelites as they say, “The good news is we are free from Egyptian bondage! The bad news is that for
some reason Moses is heading out into the wilderness!”? It made no sense to go south out into the desert instead of east
when Canaan was just an eleven-day walk from Egypt. What is Moses doing?
We are given the reason for this supposed misdirection here in our text. Read the text again. Do you see it? The Lord was
concerned that His people who had been slaves for over 400 years had no taste for battle and would break and run when
the fighting began. God knew the nations Israel would face in Canaan had fierce armies and were seasoned warriors, some
of them were giants. These Israelites had been common laborers working in the brickyards, raising crops, and tending
livestock; they were not soldiers and had no experience in war. Jehovah knows the hearts of men. He set in motion a plan to
prepare them for conquest. The divine strategy was to take two years to season these slaves into warriors and harden them
for war. So we see that God directed Moses to lead them out into the wilderness to prepare them for what lay ahead. When
they finally reached God’s predestined entry-point into Canaan (Kadesh Barnea) after two years they fell into fear and
refused to go into Canaan. This act of disobedience displeased God tremendously! It caused them to wander another 38
years in the wilderness only to die there rather than see the land flowing with milk and honey.
What do we learn from this? First of all we learn that there are consequences for disobedience. We would do well to obey
the Lord implicitly. The wise man is the man who obeys God. The second thing we learn is this: the ways of God differ from
man’s ways. The Lord knew exactly what He was doing when He chose the wilderness route rather than the eleven day
journey to Kadesh Barnea but it made no sense to the people. See what the prophet has to say about the ways of God: Isaiah
55:8-9 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher
than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
The message is abundantly clear in this passage; we must understand that God thinks on a level higher than ours, and His
ways are far above the level of comprehension for the natural-thinking man. God’s perspective of the earth and all that is on
it is one that is crystal clear and perfect. In fact, He knows the end from the beginning. (Isaiah 46:10) Based upon this
foreknowledge, our God designs His plan for our lives and those plans are always good. (Jeremiah 29:11) His plan for Israel
was a good plan; however, to the natural-thinking man it made no sense at the time to take the long route. God’s plan for
each of us is a good plan but it will probably differ drastically from the one we would create if left to our own designs. Of
course, His plan is far better than ours. The one who grasps this simple truth will live in peace.
Trust was the missing element for Israel when it came down to accepting what they did not understand. Trust is the ‘success-
factor’ that we must inject into our equation with God. You and I may not understand many of the things the Lord will do in
our lives and if we choose the mindset Israel had, it will not go well for us just as it did not go well for them. However, we
will find the following promise true as we put our trust in God regardless of how things appear: Psalm 37:3-4 “Trust in the
Lord and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the
desires of your heart.”
The psalmist declares that God is faithful. Do you see it there? The faithfulness of God is the key truth for you to hold onto.
This is where the children of Israel missed it. Let’s learn from their mistake. When you see God doing something you do not
understand or taking you in a direction that makes no sense to you, quickly remind yourself that He is the faithful One.
Everything He does will be for your benefit and for your advancement. (Romans 8:28) Your covenant with God assures you
that He is always just, He is always loving, He is always gracious, and He is always right. He sees things you do not see. He
knows things you have yet to learn. His ways are far higher and far better than yours, so trust Him and see the good things
that will come from it. It is like the fun I had with my son when he was just a toddler. I would toss him up in the air and catch
him when he came down. He would laugh big enjoying every second of the experience. Why was he not afraid? Because
Daddy was there. That is trust. I am reminded by the Holy Spirit of what the apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth: I
Corinthians 2:9-10 “But as it is written: eye has not seen nor ear heard nor have entered into the heart of man the things
which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
It looks like God has some wonderful things planned for you and me! We want to make sure that we get to enjoy these
things. Remember God promised a land flowing with milk and honey to the people of Israel, yet they did not get to enjoy it.
Let us learn from them so we can enter into the fullness of the covenant promises He has made us. What a shame it would
be for us to have the promise of God and never enter into it!
When we read the whole chapter in I Corinthians 2 we find that the ways of God (that often seem so strange) are clear to
some people. Who are these people? They are the Christians who are spiritual. These are born again saints who walk by the
Spirit; they are able to discern spiritual things by His assistance. (verse 12) Bear in mind that God does not choose who is
spiritual and who is not – we make that choice by receiving Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Spiritual discernment is very
important because it enables us to see with clarity and understand the ways of God, even those things that defy our human
I encourage you to develop your personal relationship with the Holy Spirit since He is the representative of the triune
Godhead on the earth. He is assigned the task of living within you and walking with you. If you will listen to Him and if you are
obedient to His voice, you will not question God or rebel against Him when He takes you the long way through the
wilderness rather than the short path to the desired end.
“Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and feed on His faithfulness.
Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.”
“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.’”
|The Short Route May Not Be The Best
By Bishop Randy Barnett
|Learning From Their Journey