“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.’ So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea.” Exodus 13:17-18 NIV
Years ago, I had an email exchange with a young lady who was going to be a camp counselor for some disadvantaged kids. She knew that they were wounded and naughty, and needed both love and discipline. With the infinite wisdom of a twenty-one year old, she assured me that “Most of the time, I know when to hug and when to holler.”
I am happy for her. I spend my life trying to figure that out. We are all on a journey and some days we need one tone of relationship and one day another. And when an individual gets only one, it is hugely damaging in their lives.
God’s dealings with Israel illustrate His artistry in segueing from one to the other. He was quite heavy handed in terms of the brickyard. For at least a few months and possibly a couple of years, they had to work physically harder than they ever had before. They complained to Moses, God and Pharaoh to no effect.
And when it came to the Passover, God was absolute: blood on your door posts or death in your home. No touchy feely, lovey God there.
But, while He had toughened them up physically, He knew that they were not emotionally prepared for war, so He took the long way to protect them from having the emotional upheaval of war on top of the emotional upheaval of moving in the middle of the night.
An art form.
When we look at our lives, we see the same wisdom and compassion of God toward us all. There are times when He is heavy handed and forces us into situations we abhor. And other times, He is gentle.
Join me in a celebration of the God Who Customizes His Strategy For Each Person.
Copyright November 2015 by Arthur Burk
From the Besters, where the birds are having their usual morning party. Enjoy their accompaniment to the blessings.