When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land. God said, “If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” - Exodus 13:17 (NLT)
Freedom isn’t an immediate given. Freedom is a consistent journey. Coretta Scott King admonished that the battle for freedom is never really won. We have to fight for it and win it in every generation.
Freedom itself isn’t really free. It requires constant vigilance and unyielding courage. Even after the fall of Goliath we must remain prepared to fight, because the giants of adversity keep coming.
The children of Israel’s wondrous exodus out of Egyptian bondage did not signal the completion of their freedom struggle, but the commencement of it. The battles of self-determination, self-critique and self-resourcefulness that accompany every freedom endeavor remained on the horizon as the Israelites left Egypt in jubilation.
Israel’s freedom journey could have been expedited, but because God knew the tenuousness of the people’s will to fight, Israel travelled a long indirect route to their Promised Land. To avoid confrontation with the Philistines, Israel followed a circuitous route that landed them in a fight at the Red Sea with their own doubts.
The long roads of avoidance do more than delay us. They distract us from self-development, and they deny us the use of all the liberation equipment that God has given us.
The avoidance of necessary confrontation with others puts us on a long path of self-conflictedness. The Pharaohs of our own fears are the greatest impediments to our freedom.
Lord you have created us for freedom. Forgive us for impeding our own progress. Amen.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.