And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that GOD led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for GOD said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt: But GOD led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt. And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, GOD will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you. And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, in the edge of the wilderness. And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people. (Exo 13:17-22)
GOD has a plan, for Israel, for us, for those that do not yet believe. For Israel, He knew that they could not handle the battle they would face if they went the way of the north and into the heart of the Philistines. He led them the longer route to prepare them for what they would face when the time was right. For us, He has work for us to do, while He fights the battles we face, and directs all things in His time. For the lost, He desires that they respond in faith to His love and mercy, that they surrender to Him on His terms not for immunity, but because of His grace.
Joseph, because of his secure faith in GOD, who promised to deliver the Israelites in His time, had commanded the Israelites not to bury him in Egypt, but to take his remains with them when they left. They remembered and took his bones out of Egypt, just as he had said. They obediently rejoiced in the providence of GOD and the fulfillment of His promises.
GOD led them all the way with a pillar of cloud, or a pillar of fire, they had the presence of GOD before them, in a tangible, concrete manner. Today, we have His Word and His Spirit, and our faith in Him. We trust His Spirit within us, as the down-payment for that day when we are ushered into His presence. We trust His Word as the written expression of Himself, to guide and teach.
Until that day, when we are raised up to eternity, He has left us here, not for ourselves, but for us to obey His command to minister to the hurting and in need as He gives the increase. We are called to encourage and equip one another in discipleship, through the Word, that we are prepared for the ministry, and to grow in Christ. We are commissioned to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to this lost and dying world, and as we go, proclaim the Good News of Salvation by faith in His finished and perfect work on the Cross of Calvary that they may hear and believe, and believing have life in His Name.
For GOD is not willing that any should perish, but that all would come to repentance and the knowledge of the Truth. Jesus loves you and wants to establish a covenant relationship with you that is real and personal. Surrender to Him on His terms and He will give you a brand new life of discipleship and fellowship with Him that is abundant and everlasting. GOD calls you to trust what He has already done for you to pay your sIn debt. Just as He led and provided of Israel, He has provided the only way of reconciliation with GOD with forgiveness and Salvation through Jesus Christ, the Son of GOD who is GOD the Son, to give you a new life in Christ. Turn away from yourself and your sIn and turn to Him alone for eternal Life, now and always.