"I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." Philippians 4:11b
I wish I could say "I have learned" like Paul did, with such confidence. I can say "I am learning," which of course is better than saying, "I have no idea".
The Lord has been speaking to me from Exodus lately, particularly chapters 13-15. Chapter 13: 17-18 says, "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."
The first thing I see here is that "it came to pass." That gives me hope. Hope to know that my current difficulties are not here to stay. They will pass.
I was also struck by the fact that God could have taken them through the land of the Philistines, but instead he took them "through the way of the wilderness of the Red Sea." Obviously, God foreknew exactly what was going to happen. He knew that Moses and the children of Israel were going to end up facing the Red Sea in front of them, that they would have a mountain on both sides, and Pharaoh's army coming at their backs. But God purposely put them there!
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you simply had nowhere to turn? Where there was absolutely nothing you could do to change your circumstances? Just like the children of Israel, we see that God is the one who puts us there. But why?
God has his reasons. In their case it was so everyone could see his saving power and glory.
We know the story. God said to Moses "stand still and see the salvation of the Lord." We see in chapter 14 verses 19-20 "And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:
And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night."
Have you ever been walking along with God, you can feel his presence, you've been hearing his voice, you know he has been leading and guiding you, and all of a sudden you no longer feel him there? He just up and left you? But, Hebrews 13:5 says he will never leave us or forsake us. Hmm...
Re-reading verses 19 and 20 of Exodus 14 we clearly see. The Lord had been leading them from the front. They were obviously aware of his presence as he lead and guided them. Then suddenly, without warning, he "removed and went behind them". I imagine they felt and said the same as we do..."what's going on? Where is God? How come he is no longer leading me? Why did he leave me?" and on, and on.
But we see in the text that the reality is that God did not leave them. He moved himself to the back. He put himself between them and their enemy. He positioned himself to where he could better protect his children!
Brethren, whatever your situation or circumstances today, remember this...it did not come to stay, it came to pass. The Lord loves you and he has your back!