“…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” Ex. 13:18.
Most of us have grown up with the Lord’s Prayer and can recite it on any given day. What our words speak in the prayer, the Israelites lived in reality. The phrase ‘lead us not into temptation’ is the very thing God did in our verse this morning. God could see the writing on the wall when it came to the fragile faith of His chosen ones. He knew that they would be tempted to turn back to their old lifestyle when faced with uncertainty and fear. So God did for them what He does for each of us – leads us on the tougher path to avoid failure and temptation in some area of our lives. God knew that His chosen people would be tempted beyond their abilities to avoic what would face them.
The New Testament is not silent on this matter either so we can be sure that it is a principle that God will always act upon. ‘And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.’ 1 Co. 10:13. Many times standing up under it means never having to face it thanks to God. However, with this principle comes a caveat: we have free will to choose the way He provides or give into the temptation. The first step in avoiding many missteps along the way is by trusting God for what is up ahead even if we don’t like it. What we see in our future can be scary or heartbreaking but a journey we must take with God if we are to move through and out of our wilderness. ‘Then they [Israelites] camped in Etham on the edge of the wilderness’ Ex. 13:20. They sat on the border between their comfortable past and their frightening future and had to make a choice. Would they allow their past to steal their future? Or would they faithfully and confidently take that first step of acceptance with God?
‘Etham describes a place where God gives a vision of what’s coming. It’s the place of final decision where He lets us camp out to consider the challenge ahead. Whether He’s asking us to stay in a rough marriage, to mother difficult children, to accept singleness, to choose full-time ministry, to let go of friendships, to suffer illness, or to navigate a situation we feel we can’t survive, we have to decide if we will follow where He is leading and trust that He knows what He is doing.’ One In A Million, p. 34.