As a result of Graham and Kathleen Crawford’s time spent in Benin (See Monday’s blog), the Bible is being made available in multiple languages (30 of the 52 used in the region.). This is an amazing accomplishment! The Word of God is a living thing, and will expand in its efficacy long after the Crawford’s departure.
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12)
“…my word… will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)
None of this would have resulted had they not been willing to change course as the Lord directed.
This seems so true in many cases of the Lord’s guidance. A classic example is the exodus from Egypt. You can read about it in detail in Exodus 13-15, but here are the highlights…
God knew he had a skittish group, prone to change their minds when encountering hardship, so he did not lead them the most direct route for that way passed the land of the Philistines. Instead he led them through the wilderness toward the Red Sea. He led them by a very clear means too — a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night! Though they might have cause to question the longer route, there was no denying their guidance! (See Exodus 13:17-21)
When they got to the Red Sea and realized Pharaoh and his armies were in hot pursuit they really got nervous! It seemed they were stuck in an impossible situation. Sure, it had been a miraculous journey, following the cloud and the fire — but if this is where it ended up…?
But Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent…” (Exodus 14:13-14)
Some trails look like trials till you tread them to the other side.
And tread them they did, for “the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. The Egyptians pursued and went in after them into the midst of the sea…”
Bad move for the Egyptians! The waters flooded back down upon them and all were drowned, men and horses alike! “and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. Israel saw the great power that the Lord used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses…” (Exodus 14:22-23, 30-31)
Isaiah announced, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” (Isaiah 30:21)
Sometimes God’s direction comes to us like that… from behind, like the working of a ship’s rudder. All we must do is to keep moving… anywhere at first, so the rudder can do its work. “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me,” said Jesus (John 10:27). When we do, we find Him taking us to all sorts of adventures.
So don’t be afraid of course changes. What seems at first a ‘bunny trail’ may very well be the ‘narrow way’ God intended all along (Matt. 7:14).