My morning reading brought me to Exodus 13 where we find God giving instructions for the dedication of the firstborn in each family. Having spared the firstborn from the harm Pharaoh desired to do, God instructed how the event was to be memorialized.
“This is a day to remember forever – the day you left Egypt, the place of slavery. Today the Lord has brought you out by the power of his mighty hand.” (Exodus 13:3, NLT)
God wanted the people to remember from where they had been brought out. He wanted them to remember the place of slavery and the freedom to which He had brought to them. And He wanted them to remember it was not by any of their doing but by the power of His mighty hand alone.
He alone had done it.
This sacrifice, and remembrance, was a foreshadow of what God would provide through the sacrifice of His Son. We have been spared, and redeemed, by the the price of His life so that we can live in freedom.
As God led the people out and away from Egypt, He did not lead them along the shortest route to the Promised Land. There were lessons they yet needed to learn in order to live in their land. They had to experience God’s power in battle on their behalf in order to know who their God was and what He was able to do.
To teach them these lessons, we are told where He brought them:
“If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt”. So God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea.” (Exodus 13:17-18, NLT)
God knew if the people faced challenges unprepared, they would long for Egypt because familiarity has a funny way of making us feel comfortable.
Going the route of the roundabout was the only way for them to grow some spiritual tenacity as they became familiar with God’s ways.
Going the route of the roundabout brought lessons which grew their trust in God.
And so it will be with each of us.