There was much for Israel to learn on their way back to Canaan. To start, God led them not by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was nearer; for God said, Lest the people change their purpose when they see war and return to Egypt. God led the people around by way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea, and the Israelites went up marshaled out of the land of Egypt (Exodus 13: 17-18). Israel’s heart was not in agreement with God’s. Their desire was to continue in Egypt, in spite of being slaves and having lost their identity as God’s chosen people, and having been crying for help. They became conformed to the things and lifestyles the land offered, including the Egyptian gods. In other words, they were spiritually dead. This was quite a tragedy and irony, for who wouldn’t want to be free to go back home? This is why God gave them a wilderness instead of the short way.
Interesting enough, they had to face the Red Sea at the beginning of their journey and the Jordan River at the end of it. In both circumstances, God came and made a path through them and they crossed both in dry ground. When faced with the Red Sea and Pharaoh’s army, God delivered them by closing the sea behind them, killing the Egyptian army, who had followed them. The Lord fought for them, as Moses so assured them He was going to do: the Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest (Exo. 13: 14-16). Israel might have thought that they were traveling alone, but the Bible says that the Angel of God, Who was YAHSHUA, went before the host of Israel and moved and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before them and stood behind them (Exodus 14: 19). Israel could not see their Messiah- taking part on their deliverance from Egypt, as He will be in the times of the end when He again will deliver and save them. No weapon formed against Israel prospered in their Aleah to their land. The Egyptians were left in the midst of the sea when God closed the waters upon them.
The Jordan River was the final crossing, which brought them into the land of Canaan. Although they went through the terrible wilderness, with its fiery serpents, and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, God brought them forth water out of the flinty rock, fed them in the wilderness with manna,.. (Deut. 8:15-16). The wilderness was long and dangerous; But the Lord Who delivered them from their bondage never forsook them. He was there with them always providing for their needs. In fact, in the forty years of their journey, neither their clothes nor their shoes wore out.
There are two worlds in this earthly life we will face: The Egypt from where we originate- the world, and the wilderness we must travel through on our way to heaven, or our Promised Land. When we accept the Lord YAHSHUA, we are given the access to the Promised Land through the crossing the Red Sea in dry ground. Going through it is a symbol of the baptism- dead to the world and alive unto Christ. The wilderness is the means of our sanctification. Many of us will give up the faith and sanctification to return to Egypt, but some of us will overcome the scorpions- demons, serpent- the devil and all the temptations symbolized by hunger and thirst in pursuit to the Promised Land. The warfare will be real in the desert of life; for there will be no easy way to sanctification. The denial of oneself can only happen in the wilderness of life, where there is no comfort or worldly pleasures. At last, when we reach the “Jordan River,” we will be victorious, for whoever is born of God is victorious over the world; and this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith (I John 5:4). We will be as He is, for we shall see Him just as He is (I John 3: 2). When we ponder on God’s promises beyond the blue skies, we will understand that all our sufferings are not to be compared with the glory that will be revealed to us (Rom. 8:18). Above all, it will be worth it all when we see YAHSHUA!