And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt:
But God led the people about through the way of the wilderness of the red sea… Exodus 13:17-18A;
The promise of God to the children of Israel was to bring them to the Promised Land, a land flowing with milk and honey. The time finally came for their sojourn of four hundred and thirty  years in Egypt-the home of bondage to come to a permanent end. However, getting to the Promised Land required that they journey through the wilderness of the Red Sea. Although the bible reveals that there was a shorter route to the Land of Canaan, but God did not lead the Israelites through that way. Why? God did not choose the ‘short cut’ not because He hated the people or wanted to subject them to unnecessary hardships, but because there were certain things He wanted to achieve in their lives, which otherwise would not have been possible except they pass through the wilderness experience.
Between every man and his promised land is a wilderness that he must journey through before reaching the glorious end. The scripture reveals that God made the children of Israel journey through the wilderness for certain reasons.
Firstly, God made them go through the wilderness in order to try them. He needed to know what was in their hearts, whether their love for Him was a genuine one or not. Trials are inevitable instruments in the hands of God in preparing His own people. No one can be acceptable to God or be promoted in life except he or she has been tested and tried. God must establish that we seek Him not just for what we expect to receive from Him but because we love Him with all our hearts.
Secondly, God wanted to separate Egypt from their lives. The children of Israel lived so long in Egypt that the ways of life of Egyptians had permeated their beings. God needed to subject them to the refining process of the wilderness in order to remove the thoughts, way and pattern of Egypt from their lives. He wanted to separate them permanently from Egypt. Unfortunately, they did not cooperate with God; they resisted His will and rejected His ways. Since they did not allow God to achieve this purpose in their lives, they were rejected by Him and were therefore wasted in the wilderness after wandering about for forty painful years. They never got to the Promised Land.
Thirdly, God made them pass through the wilderness in order to humble them. The bible says of our Lord Jesus Christ that He learnt obedience by those things He suffered. The nature of God in us can only flow outwards when the Adamic nature has been broken down. Unless we subject our selves to the molding hands of God, our lives may not reflect the image of His son.
In addition, God made them pass through the way of wilderness of the Red Sea in order to silence Pharaoh and the Egyptians permanently. Remember, Pharaoh and his armies were buried eternally in the red sea but the children of Israel went through to safety. When we are overwhelmed by challenges of life and our enemies think we are trapped, God is always right on time to deliver us. The roaring of the sea can never swallow us when we stay glued to the Saviour.
While it is true that we must journey through the wilderness, it is not the will of God however that we die there. For instance, God wanted the journey of children of Israel through the wilderness to last only for forty days, but alas, they wandered about for forty painful years and never got to the Promised Land because they failed God’s tests and were found unacceptable. Your journey through the wilderness is not meant to be endless. You can however prolong it if you fail to allow God to have His way or fulfill His purpose in your life.
Dearly beloved, your experience presently may seem like you are in the wilderness of life; you may have tried to find explanations for all the hardships, trials and problems you are going through and can’t understand why God would watch you go through pains, reproach and difficulties. Rather than complaining, murmuring and going back to Egypt, as did some of the children of Israel, hold on to God in faith and hope. Look up and see beyond the wilderness! A glorious end is awaiting you; ‘For I know the thoughts that I think towards you says the LORD, a thought of peace and not of evil; to give you the expected end…’ The glorious end God promised you is closer to you now than ever. A new season is about to begin for you. The Promised Land is close by; just one step more could take you there!
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