I believe people are creatures of habit. Some more than others and myself more than most. This phrase is repeated several times in Exodus 13: “for by a strong hand the Lord brought you out from this place.” This had to be repeated over and over again to remind and encourage Israel to fear the Lord and not their adversaries.
It is a beautiful statement that also reminded them of His power. It was only by His strong hand that the people were brought out of Egypt. By the same strong hand, God made a way for me by sending Christ, so how much more should I be encouraged by His power and love?
In that same chapter in Exodus, God decided not to take the Israelites straight to their destination, but took them the long way around so they wouldn’t be scared by arising conflict. Perhaps God knew they were so close to Egypt, they would run back. Even though their circumstances in Egypt were terrible, maybe He knew that they too, were creatures of habit. They would rather return to the only thing they knew than press on and trust Him for better circumstances and a life of serving Him.
Just like the Israelites God doesn’t always lead me the shortest path. Thankfully He sees all the obstacles. He knows my heart better than I know my heart. He knows what will trip me up and where I will doubt Him and His strong hand. I too forget that whatever God calls me to face is better than simply remaining where I am.
Following God usually requires change. It usually requires work. It usually requires doing things that are not easy or fun. If that seems like a total bust, there is some good news. His strong hand will be there guiding us. Those are not just words on pages; but real promises, power, and strength that we can wholeheartedly believe in.
By the end of the Chapter 14, after seeing the miracle of the parting of the Red Sea, the Israelites finally start believing. Sadly, it takes me just as long to start believing God, and I have scripture showing me over and over examples of His steadfast love and faithfulness. His strong hand is exemplified over and over, yet I still question His guidance.
He is wise in heart and mighty in strength (Job 9:4). He exhibits mighty strength by saving the day while gently loving and guiding us. He raised the Lord and will also raise us up by His power (1 Corinthians 6:14). His power is beyond our comprehension.
His hand is strong. His love is good. Whatever you are being called to face; whatever change you are looking at, you can trust in His strength. His power and strength are bigger than what He has called you to.
Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine…and I love you.
-Isaiah 43:1, 4
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.