The Israelites go up out of Egypt armed for battle. (vs.18) Knowing they need to be prepared for enemy encounters, they put on the proper armor and take the proper tools…but God knows better. He knows that physical armor will never be enough to protect them from themselves. Their hearts are weak, so he intervenes and changes their course.
For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.”
Sometimes in scripture, God puts us directly on a difficult and even dangerous path. Like when Abraham is commanded to sacrifice Isaac, his only child. Or when Moses must return to Egypt, to face Pharaoh. Other times, God reroutes us. Like when he rescues Joseph from the pit and from prison, setting him as a great leader in Egypt. And here, where he leads the Israelites away from the Philistines, avoiding confrontation that they think they’re prepared for.
How much time do I spend making external preparations, concerned more about my agenda than the condition of my heart? How often do I put my trust in physical “armor” when I should be putting on the armor of God? And how often am I so busy and preoccupied by my own plans, that I forget to be still and know that He is God and to deliberately place my “route” entirely in his hands?
Too often. Way too often.
I’m so thankful that God knows me better than I know myself. There’s enormous comfort in trusting – like the Israelites, and so many that came before them – that he controls my route. He won’t send me into difficult situations alone. And he directs my path. He paints the way. Protect me from myself, God. And when my heart is too weak to face what’s ahead, intervenes and change my course.