Summary: There were 2 ways from Egypt to Canaan: 1 straight & smooth direct to Canaan taking 4 or 5 days; the other was a crooked, winding, dry & difficult passage through the wilderness and that was the way God chose. Why?
THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED
1. There have been a lot of changes since I was in college. Computers have advanced incredibly.
2. One Boomer, Cyndy Hinds, was trying to explain to her five-year-old daughter how much computers had changed in her lifetime.
3. “Do You see our computer there? When I was in college, a computer with the same amount of power as ours would have been the size of a house.
4. Her daughter was wide-eyed with wonder, of a computer as big as a house. At last her daughter asked, “HOW BIG WAS THE MOUSE?” (readersdigest)
17 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” 18 So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle. 19 Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the Israelites swear an oath. He had said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place.” 20 After leaving Sukkoth they camped at Etham on the edge of the desert. 21 By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. 22 Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people. Ex. 13:17-22.
C. GOD’S UNCONVENTIONAL METHODS
1. David slew the Philistine giant Goliath with one rock fired from his slingshot.
2. Joshua and his army’s offensive weapon was to walk around Jericho blowing their trumpets and when they shouted, the walls fell flat!
3. God made the sun go backwards as a sign; an ax head of metal floated; people walked on the water.
4. People received their dead back alive -- like Lazarus, Tabitha, and the son of Zarephath's widow.
5. Fisherman left their boats to follow Jesus. Many things that God called people to do defied logic. It’s still true today.
1. So we shouldn’t think it strange that upon their release from captivity, God led the Israelites on an odd route, a less traveled road that didn't make conventional sense then and still doesn't.
2. There were two ways from Egypt to Canaan. One was a straight and smooth road direct to Canaan, perhaps about four or five days’ journey; the other was a crooked, winding, dry & difficult passage through the wilderness, and that was the way in which God chose to lead his people Israel.
3. We’re going to look at WHY God did this, and
Why God’s Road is Better. The title of this message is, “The Road Less Traveled.”
I. WHY DID GOD DO THIS?
The big question is WHY. Why would God go through all this effort to lead a bunch of unruly, griping, spiritual babies around for such a long time?
A. TO PREPARE THEM FOR BATTLE
1. Verse 18 tells us, "The Israelites went up out of the land of Egypt prepared for battle."
2. They were not as yet fit for war, much less for war with the Philistines, v. 17. The Philistines were formidable enemies.
3. Their spirits were broken with slavery; it wouldn’t be easy for their hands to move from the servant’s trowel to the victor’s sword.
4. They needed to be liberated in spirit as much as in bodies.
B. TO DEVELOP THEIR FAITH
1. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” Heb. 11:1.
2. Their lack of faith was apparent the first time they reached the border of Canaan land, and refused to enter.
3. One of the failures of Christianity in America is its preoccupation with cookie-cutter, safe, predictable faith, which renders real faith inoperable.
4. We are obsessed with trying to prove that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, but the life of
faith isn’t so logically quantified. We must learn to walk by faith. “They that are led by the Spirit are the Son of God.”
5. I'm not advocating that we take selfish, harmful, or ill-advised detours just for the heck of it, but I do think that the life of faith requires us to embrace traveling down the road less traveled, as God leads us.
6. God may lead some to put down high-profile, well-paying careers in order to begin some completely different work that few people will know or care about.