Exodus 13:17 “When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead the by 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.'”
One would think, based on the text, that the way of the land of the
Philistines made the most sense (“although that was near”), yet God took
them a different direction. I am encouraged and reminded when I read this that God does not always move and operate the way we expect, or the way that seems to make the most “logical” sense. And He doesn’t always share His reasoning with us, even though He always has a reason. But in His mercy, He knows our weaknesses and kindly leads us in sovereign love. Sometimes He spares us the trial and sometimes He leads us through it. There were many trials the Israelites were not spared after they left Egypt (in some ways, one could wonder what trials they weren’t spared!), but here, God took them around by the way to help guard their hearts against fear. I wonder how many other trials God spared them that are simply not recorded in Scripture? But despite what is recorded and what isn’t, we know this to be objectively true: God is leading, and in His sovereign wisdom and love, He will lead us through life in the way that brings Him the most glory and that makes me the most holy. Every step is divinely governed and is perfectly logical, despite what our finite minds may comprehend.