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  • Writer's pictureWilson Lim

God Leads His Way



Have you ever being led by a leader you trust?  A leader whose style and approach you understand?  You find that it so much easier to follow!  On the other hand, if you lack trust in a leader, it is such a struggle. 

 

The same thing can happen between us and God.  However, if we understand God’s approach to leadership, it may help us better follow God.  In this article we examine how God will lead but on His own terms, His own ways.  Our response is to either trust Him and follow Him or distrust Him and not follow Him.

 

When we examine Exodus 13 and 14 we begin to understand more about God’s leadership approach and why we should trust His leadership.

 

GOD LEADS WITH FULL UNDERSTANDING

 

In what ways has God full understanding?  We examine some aspects from this passage.

 

God fully understands the circumstances

 

Exodus 13:17–18 (NIV) 17 When 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.” 18 So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.

 

God understood the circumstances involving the Philistines.  That they would fight against the Israelites if they crossed into their territory.  The Bible informs us the following about God:

 

God is omniscient.  He is all-knowing.  Heb 4:13 (NIV) Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

 

God understands everything hence he understands about the times and seasons, the circumstances that we are in.  Job 37:16 (NIV) Do you know how the clouds hang poised, those wonders of him who is perfect in knowledge?


God’s knowledge is perfect.  God knows everything about every factor that affect a situation and He understands exactly how it will affect the situation.

 

God’s knowledge is perfect.  God knows everything about every factor that affect a situation and He understands exactly how it will affect the situation.  In other words, He knows all there is to know about a situation.  Because God knows and fully understands the circumstances we are in, He alone is able to make a decision about the best way to proceed.


We can trust God’s leadership because He understands everything.

 

Because God is omniscience. and God is All-wise, God knows every possible means to achieve His objectives. And He knows the best means to achieve His objectives. Unlike God, we have to work always with incomplete knowledge and imperfect wisdom.  We can trust God’s leadership because He understands everything. God can see the end of your journey from the beginning and He knows the safest and best route!

 

God fully understands human frailty and limitations

 

Exodus 13:20 (NIV) After leaving Sukkoth they camped at Etham on the edge of the desert.

 

God knew that the Israelites were not ready to face any significant obstacles at that time.  Hence having to face the Philistine army would have caused them to give up the vision of a Promised Land. So God guided them away from that challenge at that point in time by taking a longer route.  God fully understands human frailty, the human weaknesses. Hebrews 4:15 (NIV) For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 

 

We have the assurance that God not only knows about our weaknesses.  But God had experienced our weaknesses and thus is able to empathise with us.  That is why the Bible describes Jesus as interceding for us.  Hebrews 7:25 (NIV) Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

 

Further, travelling from Succoth to Etham was a fair distance, so God let them rest just before the desert.  God understands how much we can cope with.  He understands our human limitations, whether physical, emotional or spiritual. Psalm 144:3 - 4 (NIV) 3 O LORD, what is man that you care for him, the son of man that you think of him? 4 Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow.


God knows what we need, when we need it and how we need it.

 

God knows what we need, when we need it and how we need it. Even Jesus knew when His disciples needed to rest.  God does not drive us or push us without concern for our limitations.  I am not saying that God never pushes us beyond our current limitations.  In fact, He does this quite a bit and those who walk with God will know this.  But He does this knowing fully our limitations.  He does it to challenge us to grow beyond our current limitations or to drive us to rely on Him more.

 

As a church leader and as a parent, I find it is crucial to appreciate this when we work with others and with our own children.  A good leader stirs his people to greater heights and to break past their present limitations.  A good parent does the same.  But always with a concern for the current limitations.  The poor leader, the poor employer and the poor parent are those who expect from others without understanding or having concern for their limitations.  God knows and has concern for our limitations. 


We can trust God’s leadership because He appreciates our weaknesses and limitations. 

 

If God doesn’t lead you along the shortest path to your goal, don’t complain or resist. Follow Him willingly and trust Him to lead you safely around unseen obstacles. We can trust God’s leadership because He appreciates our weaknesses and limitations.  He will lead us and work with us from where we are at. 

 

God fully understands human desires

 

Exodus 13:19 (NIV) Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the Israelites swear an oath. He had said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place.”

 

Joseph who helped Pharaoh during the great famine, always knew that he did not belong in Egypt.  His heart was in the Promised Land.  So he instructed the Israelites to bring his bones back to the Promised Land when God led them there.  God allowed Joseph’s desire to be fulfilled.  For God fully understands human desires. Jeremiah 17:10 (NIV) “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.”


We can trust God’s leadership because He is compassionate, understand our sincere desires.

 

Even as God leads, He understands and is compassionate towards our human desires.  Because of this, many times He provides for us out of compassion for our genuine desires.  Such as providing for Hannah her heart cry for a child.  In our personal situation, Lai Ling and I had thought that we would at most have 2 children because of the intensity of ministry.  Although in our hearts we would have liked to have 3 children.  So although we planned to stop at 2, God blessed us with our youngest daughter, Deborah.  God knew our little desire and blessed us more than we expected.  We can trust God’s leadership because He is compassionate, understand our sincere desires.

 

GOD LEADS WITH PERFECT CARE

 

Exodus 13:21–22 (NIV) 21 By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. 22 Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.

 

God led through the column of smoke by day and fire by night.  Some scholars suggested that this column of smoke spread out at the top to provide cover for the Israelites from the heat of the hot sun. By night the fire provided not only light but also heat.  So how does God lead us with perfect care?

 

By showing the way

 

It is notable that the divine column led the people.  God showed them where they should go because the Israelites did not know the way.  God will often lead by showing the way especially when we do not know the way.  God desires to show us the way. But how willing are we to ask God to show us the way? Psalm 143:8 (NIV) Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.

 

Are we humble and sensitive enough to rely on Him to lead the way?  Psalm 25:9 (NIV) He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.


We can trust God’s leadership because He cares enough to guide us along the way.

 

Have you ever sat in a car with someone who is so confident of their sense of direction that they cannot be bothered to look at the street directory, even when they are heading to a new place? They weave in and out of everywhere and eventually get to the destination? Sometimes it is pride that stops them from finding a quicker route. 

 

We can trust God’s leadership because He cares enough to guide us along the way.

 

By not leaving our side

 

The pillar of smoke and fire never left the people.  It never forsook the people.  In the same way, God promises He will never leave us nor forsake us. Psalm 37:28 (NIV) For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. They will be protected forever.

 

Jesus in fact exemplified perfect care by devoting His life to serve and not to forsake us. As the good shepherd, He leads by being with us. We have tremendous assurance because God will continue to be with us.  In 19th century England, George Muller operated an orphanage by faith.  One day, they ran out of money and food for the children.  Muller still sat all the children down at the dining table and gave thanks before empty plates.  Suddenly there was a loud knock on the door.  A delivery van of bread had broken down outside and the bread would have gone to waste.  Would they like some bread?  They all had fresh bread for breakfast.


We can trust God’s leadership because He cares for us and leads us for our good.

 

We can trust God’s leadership because He is always there by our side. We can trust God’s leadership because He cares for us and leads us for our good.

 

GOD LEADS WITH HIGHER PURPOSES

 

Even when we go backwards (v1-2)

 

Exodus 14:1–2 (NIV) 1 Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 “Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. They are to encamp by the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon.

 

God told the Israelites to turn back.  They were heading in one direction, then God instructed them to go the reverse direction.  It may not exactly be back-tracking but it would surely cause people to think, “What is going on?”  Sometimes God may lead us in a way that seems to bring us backwards.  This can be frustrating when we go backwards.  For often we are so focussed about going forwards, about success in our own terms, that we may not realize God has higher purposes. Isaiah 55:9 (NIV) “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

 

Joseph when he was a slave in Egypt served God with integrity.  He refused to compromise even when Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him.  His reward?  He was thrown into prison, wrongly accused.  He went backwards.  From favoured son to slave in Egypt to prisoner in a dungeon.  Yet God has His higher purposes for Joseph!


A step backwards is often the way forward in God’s greatest of schemes! 

 

A step backwards is often the way forward in God’s greatest of schemes!  Imagine how the disciples felt when Jesus the Messiah was crucified and died?  It was a major step backwards!  Yet His death on the cross brought salvation to the world! Michel de Montaigne observed, “There are some defeats more triumphant than victories.”  Let’s be people who trust Jesus even when it appears we are taking a step backward.  For He is in control and has a greater plan.

 

Even when it leads to a dead end

 

Exodus 14:3 (NIV)  Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.’

 

God deliberately led them to a place where they were hemmed in by the sea in front and desert at the back.  Sometimes God may even lead us to what appears to be a dead end.  There is no other place to go.  Yet amid that God has His higher purposes. It is such times that really cause us to turn to God.  Only God has the answers then!


We can trust God’s leadership even when we reach a dead end because He knows what He is doing. 

 

In Daniel 6, it tells of how Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den for breaking the king’s law.  It would have seemed like the end of Daniel.  But the dead end turns into the solution.  The lions did not touch Daniel at all and Daniel was saved.  This allowed the king to throw Daniel’s accusers into the lions’ den instead.  We can trust God’s leadership even when we reach a dead end because He knows what He is doing.  Now we must distinguish between God bringing us to a dead end, and we bringing ourselves to a dead end.  The latter is due to our fault, not God’s leadership.

 

Even when it does not make sense

 

Exodus 14:4 (NIV) And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.” So the Israelites did this.

 

God declared that He would harden Pharaoh’s heart and cause Pharaoh to pursue the Israelites.  Can you imagine what Moses might be thinking?  “Hold on a minute!  God, you just set me free from my enemies and now you encourage our enemies to pursue and overpower us?  This is crazy!  It makes absolutely no sense.”


Imagine Joseph again. Why would God speak to a young man about becoming a man of great stature, then have him thrown into slavery? Joseph could be crying out, “Hey God! This is not a very good way of elevating me to positions of power!” Then things got worse!  He went from being a slave to a convicted criminal!  Lord this does not make sense!!!!

 

Sometimes God may put us in situations that do not seem to make any sense at all.  But it does, to God.  God has His higher purposes. The late Reinhard Bonnke, years ago had a huge tent made up for his evangelistic crusades.  It could hold some 50,000 people.  Then one day as they had set up the tent, a huge storm tore it up.  Reinhard thought it was a disaster.  But when the meetings started so many turned out the tent would not have contained everyone.  God removed the limitations.  Reinhard did not use tents anymore from that day forth!  The rest is history.


Is it possible that sometimes God makes our plans fail now, so that we do not fail to do God’s plan? 

 

Erwin W. Lutzer: “Many who are climbing the ladder of success have their ladders leaning against the wrong walls”.  Is it possible that sometimes God makes our plans fail now, so that we do not fail to do God’s plan?  Perhaps we may want to become wealthy, but all our plans seem to fail.  Why God?  Possibly God wants us to change first!  If the soul is not first prospering in humility; wealth will make it proud. If the soul is not first prospering in gentleness; wealth will make it rough. If the soul is not first prospering in generosity; wealth will make it stingy. If the soul is not first prospering in faith; wealth will make it doubt. If the soul is not first prospering in selflessness; wealth will make it selfish. The Bible states in Proverbs 1:32 (NIV) "The prosperity of fools shall destroy them."


 God may not want you to shape a situation but to let the situation shape you into a better person?

 

We often like to shape a situation to our advantage. Is it possible that God may not want you to shape a situation but to let the situation shape you into a better person? Rom 8:28 (NIV) “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  It is usually for our good.


We can trust God’s leadership because He brings greater good in the end.

 

At other times, God may be doing it for His glory.  Exodus 14:4 (NIV) “But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD."  And that is also good, because it is to reveal who God truly is. We can trust God’s leadership because He brings greater good in the end.

 

CONCLUSION

 

Why is it that we can trust God’s leadership?  Because God leads with full understanding of everything.  Because God leads with perfect care.  Because God leads with a higher purpose in mind, for our betterment.  Will you choose to trust God’s leadership over your life today?


 

Copyright©️2024 by Wilson Lim. All rights reserved. Materials are free to be distributed in whole or part as long as proper acknowledgement is given to the author and not sold for profit.

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