“When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near. For God said, ‘Lest the people change their minds when they see war and return to Egypt.’ But God led the people around by the way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea. And the people of Israel went up out of the land of Egypt equipped for battle.”
Did you get that? Did you really get the implications of these two verses. I have read Exodus many times and have not really read these words. God led the Israelites on a longer route out of Egypt so that they would not have to fight the Philistines. It wasn’t because they were ill-equipped for battle as made plain in verse 18. It was because their were weak in fortitude.
God knew that Israel would rather enslave themselves to a nation then fight against one for freedom. Thus the long route was given, bringing them to the Red Sea. God brought them to a place where they would be forced to face the army of Egypt one last time. The Red Sea was a dead end for God to show his power.
Israel was brought to a place they could not run from. God, in his sovereignty allowed his chosen people to be sandwiched between the world’s greatest fighting force at the time and a mass of water. In so doing, God wrought a great miracle for them, giving Israel great joy.
O God, bring me to the Red Sea. Do not let me run to the comforts of Egypt when hardships come. If need be, bring me to the dead ends so that I will not turn from you.