Thursday, May 3, 2012

He Goes Before and He Stays Behind

I was late for a photo session.  The painted crosswalk offered little protection from the cars that must have been late as well.  I ventured out anyway.  A lady in front of me was walking a little slow for my taste.

I stepped away from the painted lines in order to go around her. After all, being smeared to a Suburban grille wasn't exactly how I wanted to spend my day.  Immediately, I heard the Holy Spirit say, "You need to be her rear guard."  I stepped back in line and slowed my pace.

I watched the ladies' feet.  She wasn't crippled, but there was something about them that made her walk at a slower pace.  I don't think she could have moved faster even if she had wanted to.

Without the Holy Spirit, my rudeness would have left her in my anxious dust.

I knew the concept of God being our rear guard is in the Bible, but I had never studied it much.  Here are two verses where it is mentioned: 

But you will not leave in haste or go in flight;
for the LORD will go before you,
the God of Israel will be your rear guard.
Isaiah 52:12

Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you
and the glory of the LORD
will be your rear guard.
Isaiah 58:8

The Hebrew word for "rearward" of rear guard is acaph and it means to properly collect or to gather together.  It can have the connotation of gathering up the fruit from the harvest. 

We know that the weak often fall behind.  Through injury or depression or a whole host of reasons, it is easy to think that God will give up on us.  We think He might get tired of waiting and take a step out of the confines of the crosswalk and leave us in the dust.

No child of God will ever be left behind.

One glorious day, maybe not too far off, our Rearguard will gather His precious church up and carry her off to dwell forever where the enemy will no longer nip at her feet.

But, in the meantime, He is still our Rearguard.  He is our defense, bringing us to a place of rest and safety.  No matter how slow we go, He is always there, being the eyes in the back of our head that offer protection and grace.  I love how in the book of Joshua, the rear guard of the military always followed behind the ark of the covenant that housed God's presence.

If redeemed, you house that very Presence.  He is on guard not just for you, but His Name sake and glory as well.

So, you may find comfort in knowing that God is your Rearguard, but what about the front of you?  After all, stepping out in faith can seem more dangerous than wondering what is lurking around behind you.

That is where God's shield comes in!

The first mention of shield in the Bible is in regard to God's covenant relationship.  He tells Abram to not be afraid, for He would be Abram's shield and very great reward.  (Gen. 15:1)

We see God as our shield all throughout scripture.  Deuteronomy 33:29 says that "He is your shield and Helper and glorious sword."  Psalm 3:3 says "But you, O LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high."

If Jesus is our Shield, then he has to be the head of the vanguard of the army.  He is in the front lines.
Wikipedia defines it like this..."The vanguard is the leading part of an advancing military formation. It has a number of functions, including seeking out the enemy and securing ground in advance of the main force."

The church is in an all-out war simply because truth will always war against lies.  It is war, but Jehovah is going before you!

I hope these words by Spurgeon sink deep into the recesses of whatever you are dealing with...

"You shall not tread a step which is not mapped out in the great chart of God's decree.  God always makes a providence beforehand ready for his people when they get to the place.  My God does not hastily erect a tent over me when I come to a certain spot.  No, he builds an inn of mercy, and before I get there he provides a bed of comfort, and stores up the old wines of grace, that I may feast upon them.  I am certain of this, that on the road I am to travel during the next year, everything is ready for me.  Let us be of good cheer:  the rear guard shall soon be where the vanguard already is."

You house His very presence and He has you hemmed in, dear.

Hemmed in.

3 comments:

Bugs and Sunshine said...

Love!

Bugs and Sunshine said...

Love!

Anonymous said...

Your posts have really been speaking to me lately. Thank you. Kelley T.