Leadership Lessons from the Life of Moses


Know when to take the long Route

A traditional Jewish proverb says “It took four days to get Israel out of Egypt. It took 40 years to get Egypt out of Israel.” The idea is that the Israelites could not change overnight. They may have become physically free in four days. But it took them much longer to become mentally free. It took much longer to change their mind-set.


The nation of Israel began their journey from Egypt to the Promised Land by promptly turning away from it.

Rather than take the shorter, coastal route to Canaan, God directed Israel southeast toward the Red Sea. The direct route led through the land of the Philistines, and while God could have simply destroyed the enemy (as He would at the Red Sea), His concern lay more with the unprepared and fearful hearts of His people (Exod. 13:17-18).

So God took them the long way. And it seemed pointless. But was it?


God’s deliverance by parting the Red Sea paved the way for Israel to meet God face to face at Sinai—and to receive the Law by which they could live in the Promised Land.

If the goal was simply a destination, God seemed a lousy travel agent. A journey of three weeks would ultimately take 40 years! But God purposed to give His people something far more than a parcel of land; He offered them a changed heart.

In the end, the land, the journey to it, and even God’s Word along the way came as but the means by which they would learn to know and trust Him.

Moses knew the change would be difficult. Thus, he led them on the scenic route from Egypt to the Promised Land. Had they gone directly from Egypt to Israel, it would have taken a few weeks. Instead, it takes 40 years.

Yes, the Bible gives us other explanations for their prolonged wandering. But one of its great advantages was preparing the people for freedom.

Have you ever implemented change too quickly?