Num 21:22..Let us pass through your country. We will not turn aside into any field or vineyard, or drink water from any well. We will travel along the King's highway until we have passed through your territory.
The King's Highway crossed the entire length of the transjordan from North to South. The Israelites attempted to go to Canaan along the King's highway which passed through Edomite territory. But they were refused permission. Two other Kings had previously refused them access to this highway and were defeated in battle as a result. Both times Israel had come in peace asking (not demanding) they allow them access to travel through. But because of their refusal, God had given these nations into their hands. This particular time, God instructs Israel to honor the Edomite refusal and go another way - the long way.
The victory came to Israel as they moved in peace and not strife. This is the way the lord wanted them to travel in their pilgrimage and this is the way the Lord desires for us to travel in our walk with God in this world. You will find in the same way that there are times when God will give you victory over the stubborn pride of people, and there will be times when you will find yourself in limitation because of it. It is in the time of limitation that we are often tempted to force a way where there is no way. You'll say "But Lord, it would be so much easier if you gave me the power over this adversary so I can get on with my life and get to the place where you really want me." Maybe, but sometimes God is not as interested in the shortcuts as much as we are. It may just be that your limitation is exactly the place he wants you to be. The greatest epistles we have ever received came out of the Apostle Paul's limitation - his prison experience. The greatest power over sin and death comes out of the limitation of Christ as he was bound, led away, and nailed to a cross.
You see, the tendency is to feel that we have suffered enough already and it's "time for a break", time for some relief. It could be that true relief is in your limitation, going the long way around, working out the problem in us, and not just the problems around us.
Ps 84:5..Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. (NIV)
We can easily set our heart on traveling the short path but can we set our heart on the long way around if this is God's leading for us. The blessing is in the way of Pilgrimage no matter what the distance. This setting of heart can best be seen in another Psalm...
Ps 119:54..Thy Statutes have been my songs in the house of my Pilgrimage. (KJV)
The heart attitude is that the Psalmist can feel at home wherever the Lord's leading is. The New International Version brings this thought out a bit better by saying...
Ps 119:54..Your decrees are the theme of my song wherever I lodge. (NIV)
One of the distinct meanings of Pilgrimage in the bible is that it is a journey to a sacred place, such as a worshipper who would go up to the temple in Jerusalem for a special feast. For Israel this would have been the promised land.
Ex 6:4..And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers.
In our case, the journey to this sacred place would be a heavenly country or more specifically, the city of God.
Heb 11:15-16..If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country -- a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
The "Heroes of faith" are described as Strangers and Pilgrims on the Earth, whose Pilgrimage is described as a long journey or search of exalted purpose and moral significance.
Heb 11:13..These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the Earth.
It is hard to desire the things of the Earth when your heart is longing for the heavenly. While on Earth our heart attitude should be set on being a traveler who is but a temporary resident. Displaced in a strange land. We must resign ourselves as Christians to stick to the King's Highway. And we must travel light, attaching ourselves loosely to the world around us. This is wise when one considers that the world around us is passing away. Earthly roots at best are illusive, weighing us down, and holding us back from fully attaining the prize that even now He is preparing for us.
God is willing to be known as the God of Pilgrims (of this he is not ashamed). The question for us is are we willing to be a nomad for the Lord - a stranger for Sanctification's purpose? A persevering people for the promise, however long the extra distance. We are to travel on the King's Highway too - (a Walk with Christ) until we pass through this life reaching another country afar where our eternal home lies.