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Daily Reading: Exodus 13

Scripture Focus: 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.” (Exodus 13:17)

Devotional Thought: When I moved from Ohio to South Carolina, my route took me through "The Gorge" - a tightly winding portion of I-40 on the Tennessee / North Carolina border. On my first trip, I was pulling a trailer behind the Budget moving truck. I did not relish the thought of going through "the Gorge" with that trailer following me! So, I chose an alternate route. Though I avoided the traffic of Cincinnati and the twists and turns of "The Gorge," it was a longer distance and added considerable time to my journey. It was not a shortcut, but rather a "longcut."

God did the same thing with the Israelites as they left Egypt for Canaan. Rather than taking the simplest, straightest path, God led them on another (longer) way. The Lord knew that his people, spiritually and emotionally weak after their enslavement and recent liberation, could not handle going through the land of the Philistines yet.

I wonder what they thought as God led them through the desert. Did they question him, asking why they had to take the hard way? They were tired, emotionally exhausted, and terrified. But still they followed his way. Because of their obedience, God showed the Israelites and the Egyptians His glory at the Red Sea crossing.

Do we sometimes wonder why God is leading us through a long, winding path that is fraught with difficulties? Take heart – our view of the situation is limited, but God can see exactly where he is leading us. Rest assured that his path for us is always the best way, for our good and for his glory - even if it is a "longcut"!

Jenny (and Pastor Scott)

Prayer: Lord, our way seems so difficult and winding at times. We are exhausted spiritually and emotionally by the journey. But in you we can renew our hope, and run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Give us the strength to do so, and may you be glorified in our journey.

Psalm of the Day: 5 For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. 6 He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. 7 On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. 8 Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah 9 Those of low estate are but a breath; those of high estate are a delusion; in the balances they go up; they are together lighter than a breath. 10 Put no trust in extortion; set no vain hopes on robbery; if riches increase, set not your heart on them. 11 Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, 12 and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love. For you will render to a man according to his work. (Psalms 62:5-12)

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