Beside being pillars of modern day Christianity, what do Abraham, Joseph, David, and Paul have in common? They all arrived at their promises by the “scenic route”, or the long way.
According to Wikipedia, a scenic route is “a, tourist road, tourist route, holiday route, theme route, or scenic byway is a specially designated road or waterway that travels through an area of natural or cultural beauty.”
The shortest way is not always a straight line.
As human beings we are linear, we think in straight lines. We assume that the most efficient way from Point A to Point B is directly as “the crow flies”. Yet in God’s dealings, we have discovered otherwise. Abraham waited until he was 80 for God to fulfill the promise of him being father of many nations. Joseph waited 13 years between the pit and the palace. David was around 15 years of age when he was anointed by Samuel to be King, and 37 when he finally became King of Israel. Paul was in prison many years of his ministry waiting for the fulfillment of God’s promises.
This gives new meaning to the words of Jesus, “In patience, possess your souls” (Luke 21:19).
The question is why does God brings is by the scenic route? The short answer is that there is something that we need between the promise and its fulfillment that can only be found on the scenic route. The scenic route, though beautiful, can be treacherous. Like the stunning desert road Israel traversed on their way to the Promised Land that is both beautiful and fatal, that is exactly where God takes us.
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.” So 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
If you were to look at a map of Israel’s journey from Egypt to the Promised Land, it would look like a series of sinuous, squiggly lines drawn in free-hand by a child. It is filled with dead-ends and about faces that would hardly meet with Google Map’s approval. Yet it is in the hallway between the promise and fulfillment that something is given to us.
God knows what is inside you - What you are prepared for or not prepared for - The routes that will overthrow your faith and the routes that strengthen. The wilderness Israel travelled was beautiful and dangerous, but it was also a school that would teach them how to hold to God’s promises - How to follow Him, how to fight, but most of all, how to enjoy the beauty of the journey.
Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. Psalm 119:18