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Forty-Year Detour

Detours, when we get off the main road, can be frustrating and time consuming. Yet in the spiritual life, God seems to allow us to be detoured. One of the longest detours of all time happened to the children of Israel in the wilderness. What should have taken them eleven days to enter the Promised Land turned into a forty-year detour in the desert. That detour was due to their deplorable lack of faith in God’s conquering power. On the other hand, there were those who may have thought they were being detoured by God, but who later found they were on God’s perfect road of blessing all along. Consider: 1) Moses was detoured into submission. Those forty years in the wilderness tending sheep were not a waste, but actually a training ground for tending Israel later on. The desert experience took all the trust in the arm of flesh out of Moses (Exodus 3,4). 2) Paul was detoured into learning. “I went into Arabia...then after three years I went up to Jerusalem” (Galatians 1:17,18). Those years were good for Paul, so that he might learn of Christ and be trained for service. 3) Philip was detoured from many, to one. He went from winning multitudes, to winning one man, the Ethiopian eunuch; from a great revival to a singular witnessing experience. This story shows the Lord’s estimation of the value of one soul. 4) Enoch and Elijah were detoured into heaven (Genesis 5:24, II Kings 2:11). Is today the day we will experience the same?

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