And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not by the way of the land of the Philistines

Bible-Themed Addiction Recovery for the week of April 17

Exodus 13:17 – “And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not by the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said: ‘Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt.’”

God understood that the Israelites, so recently freed from slavery, might not be able to handle an abrupt confrontation with the Philistines that could result from taking a direct route from Egypt to the Land of Israel. This part of the Exodus story is rich with symbolism for our daily lives and struggle with recovery and addiction. We can learn from this verse that sometimes, it is wise to take an indirect approach to our worst problems, take baby steps and build our strength. If we take the plunge prematurely, we may suffer a backlash and find ourselves in worse trouble than before we started. For example, let’s say you drank over resentment that you felt you were owed a raise at work. Then, newly sober, you decide to barge into your boss’s office and demand a raise – that would not be good sober behavior. The result, in fact, might be a reaction that could lead you right back to the bottle. Instead, a wise approach might be to carefully plan a request for a raise, working with a sponsor to understand the most effective way to approach the situation. Or, perhaps even more importantly, learn to trust God to guide you on the right path to confronting the problem. This is the lesson of Exodus 13:17.

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