“Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.”- Exodus 23:20
The children of Israel had been in bondage in Egypt for 430 years (Exodus 12:40-41; Galatians 3: 17) and the end of that period, the Lord God comes to deliver his people out of the land of Egypt, to fulfill the covenant he made to Abraham (Genesis 15: 18; 17:7-8). God revealed his plans for the children of Israel saying 1) I will bring you out from under the Egyptians 2) I will rid you out of bondage, 3) I will redeem you, 4) I will take you to me and be your God, 5) I will bring you in the land, 6) I will give it you for an heritage. (Exodus 6:6-8).
Then begins a forty year journey to the promise land. Why the long and arduous journey? The Bible says in Exodus 13: 18 “But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness…” Why did the omnipotent God not take the Israel from Egypt into their promised land in an instant? It’s called process. Relationships are formed and established through a process of knowing, and being known, so God’s purpose was to reveal Himself to the people with whom He had established his covenant.
Through their wilderness journey, the Israelites experienced:
- God’s power: With great signs and wonders, God delivered His people out of the hands of Pharaoh. Jeremiah wrote: “You brought your people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs and with wonders, and with a strong hand and with an outstretched arm and with great terror.” (Jeremiah 32:21)
- God’s presence: The Lord guided his people by his presence in the form of a cloud (Exodus 13:21; 14:19; 16:10; 40:38)
- God’s protection: In the wilderness they found God to be Jehovah Nissi ; He defeated the enemies of His people; first the Egyptians, then the Amalekites. “For the Lord your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.” (Deuteronomy 20:4).
- God’s provision: With food, water, and clothing, God sustained the Israelites through their journey in the wilderness. “I have led you forty years in the wilderness; your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandal has not worn out on your foot.”- (Deuteronomy 29:5).
- God’s purification: A Holy God chose for Himself a people called to be separate; “ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people… And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.”( Exodus 19:5-6). He commanded His people to obey his statutes and ordinances (Deuteronomy 4:1) .
- God’s promise: God word which He spoke came to pass, and did not fail. ”So the Lord gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it.” (Joshua 21:43).
All the above points apply to each person’s journey with God. God promised to bring you to a place, and the process is designed to prepare you to take possession. So whenever you find yourself getting frustrated and impatient with the journey, and perhaps wondering why God has you going through certain situations, remember who goes with you. God is leading you, and He will not leave you, till He has fulfilled every Word He has spoken.