June 21, 2010

Guiding Grace

Exodus 13:17-22

When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country.
Exodus 13:17


God’s people had been captives in Egypt long enough. Moses and Aaron repeatedly delivered God’s message to Pharaoh: “Let my people go” (see Exodus 7-10). But Pharaoh refused each time. Ten devastating plagues later, God guided his children to freedom.

But notice where he led them. “God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter.” Why? God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.”

What foresight! What kindness! What caring wisdom! What grace!

The people thought they were ready for war: “The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.” But their Redeemer knew better. Their faith was small, their experience limited. So God tailored his guidance to their weakness. The route was longer this way, but safer.

God recognizes our limitations long before we are aware of them. And he carefully leads us along paths and through experiences that gradually prepare us for the next step.

As the psalmist wrote, “You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory” (Psalm 73:24). Let’s give thanks for God’s guiding grace!

God of abounding grace, may we sense your guiding grace, and when we do not sense it, may we still trust that you are guiding us in your way. Through Jesus Christ, Amen.

About the author — Dale Vander Veen

Dale Vander Veen is a retired Christian Reformed pastor who with his wife, Edith, has ministered in California, Washington, and Michigan. They have three married children and six grandchildren. He currently writes a daily e-mail series of devotions.

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