From the National Director

God’s Way May Not Always be the Shortest!

“Then it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, ‘Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.’” – Exodus 13:17 NKJV


I imagine the Israelites praying for God to quickly lead them away from their enemies to safety. Yet, He neither led them through the shortest way to their destination nor gave them a smooth journey. Instead, they had to overcome obstacles and enemies along a longer route.

Why would God lead the Israelites on a longer path to the Promised Land? “Is not the shortest and fastest way the best one?” The second part of the verse gives us a clue into what God was thinking – “Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.”

God never wavered in His plan of leading the Israelites to the Promised Land. He was merely preparing His people for the battles that lay ahead. God was thinking about the Israelites’ well-being and was working behind the scenes to protect them from harm, ensuring that they would be equipped to overcome the challenges they would face in the new territories.  Even though the land of the Philistines was nearby and offered a shorter and faster route, God did not lead His people through it because they were not yet ready for the challenges.

Here are three key lessons we can learn from this verse:


God delivers.

God knew that if the Israelites saw war too soon after being freed from slavery, they would become discouraged and want to return to slavery in Egypt. That would be far from His desire and plan for them. He was bent on setting them free, and by leading them on a seemingly longer and arduous route, He was protecting them from making a poor decision to head back towards captivity.

His ways are not our ways; neither are His thoughts our thoughts (Isa 55:8). They do not always follow human logic. God is our Deliverer who knows what is best for us, we can trust in His wisdom and leading.


God prepares.

God knew that the Israelites needed to be prepared both physically and spiritually for the challenges that lay ahead. They would not be shielded from wars, but the longer route gave them more time and opportunities to learn to lean on Him in the battles ahead. God is constantly preparing us for the challenges we will face and looking out for opportunities to build us up. He promises us His presence, power and peace. And He is always at work to prevent us from being tempted beyond what we can bear (1 Cor 10:13). Trust in His plan, for it will ultimately lead to blessings that He has intended for us. 


God blesses.

God’s desire was for the Israelites to inherit the Promised Land. This was fulfilled as the subsequent generations entered and reached the destination under Joshua’s leadership. God's plans for us are ultimately for our good, even if we do not understand His ways at times, and may feel that the terrain is rough – we can continue to trust His heart.


The next time we are inclined to ask God for an immediate answer or instant deliverance, may we exercise faith and trust in Him to walk the way He has led us on, even if it is not the shortest one.


Goh Hock Chye

Country Leader/CEO



“法老容百姓去的时候,非利士地的道路虽近, 神却不领他们从那里走,因为 神说:‘恐怕百姓遇见打仗后悔,就回埃及去’”(出埃及记13:17,和合本)。


我可以想象以色列人祈求 神速速领导他们逃脱敌方抵达安全之地。但, 神既不引领百姓抄近路抵达目的地,也不使他们一路顺遂。以色列人甚至得披荆斩棘,长途跋涉。为什么 神竟带领以色列民绕道至应许之地呢?人不都说“别走冤枉路,近路省时又省力”?下半节经文点出了 神当时的设想:“恐怕百姓遇见打仗后悔,就回埃及去”。

神领以色列人到应许之地的计划从没动摇过。祂不过是在预备祂的子民以应对未来的争战。 神明白以色列民众的处境,从暗中保护他们,又确保他们准备好可以应对陌生领域的冲击。纵然非利士人的领地相距不远且有捷径可达, 神没有领祂的子民走近路,因为他们还没准备好。




神知道以色列人刚从长年奴役得释放,如果马上遭遇战事,他们容易龟缩、回到埃及主人的辖制下。若是如此,就与祂的原意及安排背道而驰。 神既立意使百姓重获自由,就不嫌道远、几经艰辛地为他们引路,唯恐百姓一时发慌,一头栽回奴隶生活。

祂的道路不同我们的道路;祂的意念非同我们的意念(以赛亚书55:8),不都按世人的逻辑而行。 神是我们的拯救者,知道什么对我们至关重要,我们可以信靠祂的智慧和带领。



神预见当时的以色列人必须在体能和心灵这两方面重新锻炼才可以应对前方的挑战。他们免不了要打仗,而长途跋涉容许他们在万难中学习依赖祂,以致在未来的争战中也如此行。 神时时预备我们以面对前路的挑战,并且在每个契机里培育我们成长。祂一直在工作,必不叫我们受试探过于所能受的(哥林多前书10:13)。信靠 神的安排,因为其中有祂纯全的旨意,为要我们行在其中而得福。



 神愿意以色列民承受应许之地为业。这应许一直到约书亚率领下的新世代方才实现,这世代得以进驻应许之地。 神为我们所预备的计划本为美善,即使我们一时看不透祂的作为,甚至以为天路坎坷 – 我们可以继续相信祂的信实。


如果将来我们又求 神给予立刻回应或搭救,但愿到时我们能凭信心顺着祂一直以来的带领,即便道路阻且长。

愿 神祝福您,



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