Hi. Welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan, your host of the daily challenges. Today is Tuesday, the day we study the Bible together.
Last week we explored the story of Passover, leading to Israel’s chance to escape slavery in Egypt. God orchestrated all this so they could be freed from slavery in Egypt, and travel toward what’s known as the Promised Land. Here’s what the Bible says happened next:
When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near. For God said, “Lest the people change their minds when they see war and return to Egypt.” But God led the people around by the way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea. And the people of Israel went up out of the land of Egypt equipped for battle. Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph had made the sons of Israel solemnly swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones with you from here.” And they moved on from Succoth and encamped at Etham, on the edge of the wilderness. (Exodus 13:17-20 ESV)
They are on their way to the promised land, where they should be able to settle for good. They are even bringing the bones of Joseph, the patriarch who brought them to Egypt in the first place. This signifies they’ll be settling in a new home – Israel will leave no reason to return to Egypt, and no sign that they might belong there. They belong in a new land now.
But, they have to get there first.
God tells them to avoid Canaan. That would be the most common and obvious route, but that also means the potential of Egyptian guards. So, he wants them to take an inland route…called the land of the Philistines when this was written down. The Philistines were not actually there yet, but when this was written, this is how the land of Canaan would have been known.
They are passing through barren, unconventional, and dangerous territory. They would have been afraid, doubtful and maybe even regretful. God even says this is his concern. When the Egyptians inevitably follow to try and recapture their slaves and livestock, God will protect them, but they may turn back anyway out of fear, so he wants them to go his way.
Question: What signs could God give the Israelites to keep them trusting, and moving in the right direction?