The Divine Delay

Jon Burgess


17When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.”18So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea.The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle. Exodus 13:17-18


God saw the Israelites as soldiers even while they viewed themselves as slaves. The Commander of Heaven's Armies led His people out of Egyp as warriors but they saw themselves as weak. Years and years under the taskmaster's whip had beaten the fight right out of them. Any commander worth his salt will assess the readiness of his troops before leading them into battle. God knew that when push came to shove they would go running back to what they knew instead of contending for the new thing God was calling them to. The motivation for not taking the shortest route was out of love and for longevity. In what was often misconstrued to be God's torture of His people, the delay was all about training His people for the battle ahead.


I've heard it said that shortcuts lead to long delays. I've also heard it said that God is never late, rarely early, but is always on time. The frustration comes when we don't understand the purpose behind thedelay. Like the disciples in Acts 1 who started casting lots for a 12 disciple instead of waiting on the Holy Spirit we all get weary in the waiting. When we get tired of contending for the new we inevitably go back to what we knew. God knew His people would go back when faced with battle. The waiting would produce the warrior. We often think God is punishing us if something doesn't come to pass immediately. What we see as punitive God sees as preparation! What we see as God's delayed response is actually God's discipleship process! I can say with absolute certainty I would not be ready for the battles I face today if Jesus had simply listened to my prayers 15 years ago and let me stay here in Oahu. I would have gone running back to Momma if had tried to take a shortcut through God's Divine Delay. I needed the Interim Pastorate in Kauai. I needed to plant two churches in Seattle. I needed to pastor the restart in Kona. 15 years later God called me back to where I had wanted to be in the first place, but now I have the training to take on the Promised Land.


Jesus thank You for this reminder that You are setting me up for success. "Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle." Ps. 144:1. You aren't toying with me, You are training me. You aren't messing with me, You are mentoring me. You aren't dangling a carrot at the end of a stick You are doing something in me that will help me win the war I'm not even aware of yet! I trust Your timing even if I don't understand it. I trust that You are for me. Help me to see myself the way You see me. Not as a slave but as a soldier. Not as a weakling but as a warrior!

Devotions for January 25

Exodus 12,13
Psalms 21
Acts 1

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