Jesus once said
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the
gate and broad is the way that leads to
destruction, and there are many who go
in by it. Because narrow is the gate and
difficult is the way which leads to life,
and there are few who find it.” – Jesus (Matt 7:13-14)
Verse 13 talks about the way of the world. It is a way that leads to destruction. It is broad,wide and easy to tread on. That is a way that is sensual where one can do whatever his heart desires.
We have taken a look at that path last week. Let us take a look at the way of the Lord.
The Way Of The Lord
Let us take a closer a look at the words of Christ
“Because narrow is the gate and
difficult is the way which leads to life,
and there are few who find it.”
That is the way that God wants, it is a small and difficult path that leads to life. So how does one enter this path. Let us take a look at what Jesus said.
“Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the
door of the sheep….. I am the door.
If anyone enters by Me, he will be
saved, and will go in and out and find
pasture….I have come that they may
have life, and that they may have it
more abundantly.” – Jesus (Jn 10:7.9.10)
Jesus is a good shepherd and the the sheep is his church. Jesus is the door of the sheep. In order to walk on this path, you must seek Jesus in order to enter it. Only by going through the door can you find salvation within the Lord.
God once spoke through prophet Isaiah
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.”- YHWH (Is 55:8-9)
That is the thought and the ways of God. Gods thought and ways are different from us. When we encounter problems in life and we pray to him for help. but sometimes Gods answer may be different, for ways and thoughts are different from us.
Let us consider the characteristic of Gods way?
The Path Of God Need Not Be Straight
Most people tend to think that if their choices are smooth and it met with no opposition that must be the way of God. But let us consider the words of King Solomon.
“Consider the work of God;
For who can make straight
what He has made crooked?
In the day of prosperity be joyful,
But in the day of adversity consider:
Surely God has appointed the one as
well as the other,So that man can
find out nothing that will come after
him.” – Solomon (Eccl 7:13-14)
Solomon was talking about the encounters in life. It reminds us that we need to mediate on the words of God.We need to find out of the way God prepared. This verse reminds us that when we encounter suffering, we need to consider. Sometimes the path of the Lord may be curved, at that time, we should not try to go against the will of God. Perhaps God meant it to be difficult
The Way Of The Philistines Vs The Way Of The Wilderness
Sometimes God may not lead us on a the straight path . This can be seen in the book of exodus.
“ So God led the people around by way
of the wilderness of the Red Sea. And
the children of Israel went up in
orderly ranks out of the land
of Egypt.” – Moses (Ex 13:18)
Here it talks about how God led Israel. I have found an article that featured a map for your reference
When God led Israel out of Egypt, it was through the way of the wilderness. The wilderness journey is hard.. Israel took 40 years to travel the wilderness. Israel spent about 2 years travelling to Kadesh. However just before they enter the land, they lost their faith and have to travel another 38 years in the wilderness. (CF: Deut 2:14)
The truth is that if one takes the way of the Philistines, it only takes 3 month to reach the promise land. In the eyes of man it is unwise and inefficient to travel like this. However, in the eyes of God it is a wise move.
The Wisdom Behinds God’s Choice
Sometimes we wonder why did God choose to lead Israel through the troublesome wilderness . God gave a reason behind his choice
“Lest perhaps the people
change their minds when
they see war, and return
to Egypt.”-YHWH (Ex 13:17)
The way of the Philistines is known as the Via Maris (the way of the sea) and it is a well known trade route. The route is heavily fortified by the Egyptians. There are also the Philistines which are a fierce tribe.
The Israelites are slaves who just left Egypt, although God has plans that they would fight the Canaanites in the future, but right now the faith of the Israelites are still weak. When Israelites were travelling in the wilderness, they were without food and water. God helped them them by providing manna and water from the rock. When the Israelites faced the Amalekites in the battle of Rephidim, they learnt to fight with God.
God train them to rely on him by giving them miracles and helping them in battle. The result of Gods wisdom can clearly be seen when Joshua led Israel and started his campaign to conquer Canaan .
Learning From The Experience Of Joseph
That is how the will of God works. In our lives of faith we may encounter difficulties and it is actually the wisdom of God. Sadly many of the Israelites cant understand this as the result many of them fell in the wilderness.
Sometimes we wonder why is it that we encounter no success, why we fall sick and was not healed. Sometimes we study hard and yet we fail in our examinations. We need to understand how God works and why we encounter such problems.
Now let us consider the example of Joseph.
“But as for you, you meant evil against me;
but God meant it for good, in order to bring
it about as it is this day, to save many people
alive.” – Joseph (Gen 50:20)
Those are the words of Joseph at old age. God trained Joseph throughout his life, God allowed Joseph to encounter so many difficulties. Joseph had a tribulation life
This verse tells us how God trained Joseph. God allowed Joseph to encounter a lot of tribulation. He lead a difficult life from 17 , he worked as a slave in the house of Potiphar. When things started to go smoothly for him, the wife of Potiphar seduced him and for doing the right thing, he was thrown into the prison.
He did not murmur against God for he know that it was the will of God behind it. Even though life was full of difficulties and he had face them willingly. He must have question why at times, but eventually he overcome the world.
Even though sometimes we do not understand why we are suffering, but often we will only see after the end of the journey. Sometimes it is only through the rough edges of life can one learn and discern with wisdom.
Learning From The Experience Of Moses
“When Pharaoh heard of this matter,
he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled
from the face of Pharaoh and dwelt in
the land of Midian; and he sat down by
a well.” – Moses (Ex 2:15)
This is a record of the time where Pharaoh heard the of Moses killing the Egyptian. He wanted to kill Moses and Moses had to flee to Midian. This is an example of a difficult path given by God.
When Moses was a child, he was almost killed by Pharaoh. Then Pharaoh ordered to kill every male Israelite child. But God preserved his life and he arranged for Moses to be rescued by the Pharaoh’s daughter. The bible records that Moses is learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptian.
Moses thought of visiting his brethren for he knows that God wanted him to save the Israelites. But then he was young and quick tempered, when he saw an Egyptian bullying a Israelites, he fought and killed the Egyptian. As the result, he had to flee to the wilderness.
Eventually God approached Moses saying to him
“I will certainly be with you. And this shall
be a sign to you that I have sent you:
When you have brought the people out of
Egypt, you shall serve God on this
mountain.”- YHWH (Ex 3:12)
Even though Exodus 3 is only one chapter away, But the timeframe is very far. Moses stayed 40 years in the wilderness of Midian (CF Acts 7:22-23,30) . He was 40 when he killed the Egyptian, and when God appeared to him in Exodus 3 he was 80 years old.
When Moses first learnt the knowledge of the Egyptian, he was confident that he had the advantage over others. But in the end he killed a Egyptian and he had to go to Midian to bury himself away. He led a lonely and simple life. This training destroyed his pride and temper.
The Moses at the age of 40 is like a prickly durian, the 40 years in the wilderness allowed God to remove all his spikes and self confidence. When God approached Moses at the age of 80, Moses was a changed man. He felt that he had no power and he is not strong enough.
Moses once said in his Psalm
“The days of our lives are seventy years;
And if by reason of strength they are
eighty years,” – Moses (Ps 90:10)
It seems that Moses had given up on himself at 80, he felt that his life was maxed out. He changed from a good and simple life to rock bottom. He became a commoner, and he feels that it is impossible to do the will of God. Moses feel that he cannot do it because he is slow of speech and tongues. From here we can see that he had lost his pride and Gods training for him in Midian and it had developed him spiritually. It turn Moses into the most humble man on earth.
The result of this training is seen in the book of Numbers
“(Now the man Moses was very humble,
more than all men who were on the face
of the earth.)” – Num 12:3)
This was Gods comment about his 40 years in the wilderness. If we make a comparison of Moses between Ex 2 and Num 12) In Ex 2 he killed a Egyptian in his anger and now he is the most humble man on earth. This difference is a result of God’s training.
Without that training, he will not be able to handle 3-4 million people travelling in the wilderness. They often complain to him about having no food and water, he had to endure the heat of the day and the cold at night. He had to hear their problems and solve them .
I believe if Moses was the leader of the Israelites at 40, perhaps many Israelites would have been executed for causing trouble.
From here we can see that God had different way for different people. Some Christians are put in the palace while some had to endure the heat and cold in the wilderness.
So when we encounter troubles in life, do we see it as God torturing us or do we see it as God will?
We need to know that Gods way is not necessary all smooth sailing, we must consider the work of God and that all things works for the good of those who love God. For Jesus tell us that the way to heaven is narrow and difficult. That is the way of God.