Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Charting a New Course

"For God said, 'If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt." Exodus 13:7b

I seek to be a woman of determination and resolve to live free in Christ because my "Egypt" was a place of great pain and brokenness. Set free from the chains that once bound me, and by the grace of God, I am bent on staying free. Galatians 5:1 says, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."

Egypt, on the other hand, was also a place of familiarity. And most of us are a people who resist change, especially if the place we are going is difficult to get to, full of opposition and battles. So the temptation to stay with what you know can be strong. You have to be intentional about choosing the road less traveled. The enemy is counting on God's people to give up and go back to their old ways of doing things when life gets hard - the old ways that bound them up, held them hostage or rendered them far less useful to the Lord.

In order to protect His people from the temptation to go back to what they knew in Egypt, the Lord re-routed them. He changed their direction. He charted a new course. The next verse in Exodus says, "So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt armed for battle." Exodus 13:18

The map in my Bible indicates that the Lord did not follow the traditional route of the Exodus - the way the Israelites were familiar with. The way they had always known to go before. He chose an alternate route, leading them to cross the Red Sea. To turn away from the things that enslave us, and choose to follow Christ, we must ask the Lord to chart for us a new course. A new direction that avoids roads that lead to temptation, old hang-ups or oppression. 

Because God anticipated resistance (from the enemy), the Israelites moved forward dressed for battle. In trusting God with their future and the anticipated Promised Land, they chose to put on their armor, prepared to fight for their liberty. Freedom doesn't come without a fight. Freedom is not free. There is a battle to be won. And it can only be won by changing course and determining to go God's way. Preparation requires standing firm in the faith, preparing to fight by arming yourself with the truth of God's Word, strength gained from spending time at His feet, and a life bathed in prayer.

What course will you take? Are you headed out of Egypt, circling and tempted to go back, or trusting God with a heart willing to fight for freedom on the way to your Promised Land?

Thank You Father for helping me determine in my heart all those years ago to follow You. Thank You for charting my course and ordering my steps, leading me toward my Promised Land. Thank You for giving me eyes to recognize the enemy and strength to stand in the battle. Thank You Jesus for the freedom granted me. In Jesus' name, amen.

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