ISAIAH 52:12: “For you shall not go out in haste, and you shall not go in flight, for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.” (ESV)
OBSERVATION: Why is it so hard to slow down? Why is it so hard to rest? Have you ever stopped long enough to simply consider these two questions. We all face deadlines. We all have responsibilities. We all are tempted to think that if we don’t keep every plate in our lives spinning the whole thing will come crashing down. This is not the way the Lord wants us to live.
In speaking to the nation of Israel the Lord gives them words of hope concerning their future redemption and deliverance from the nations who had oppressed them. When He speaks of this deliverance the Lord makes it very clear – “For you shall not go out in haste, and you shall not go out in flight…” Their victory, their freedom was not going to be determined by their effort. It was going to be a sovereign and gracious work of the Lord – “…for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.”
When we are captivated by worry and fear, when we feel the pressure to “make it happen”, when we simply run from one thing to the next – we fail to understand this precious truth and promise. God promises to all His children – “…for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.” Think about these facts. Before I even begin my day – the Lord has gone before me. And after each step I take – the Lord is my rear guard. If He does all that, is there anything that will take Him by surprise? Is there any reason to rush through life trying to “make it happen”? Is there any reason to worry or fear?
I have often prayed – “Lord, be my forward guard, and my rear guard.” However, many times after praying that I plunge ahead once again relying on my own strength and my own wisdom. I know what the Word of God says, and yet, I anxiously and hurriedly plunge ahead. I need to stop, quiet my heart, open His Word, and remind myself each day – “For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength…” (Isaiah 30:15) The rest of this verse is very enlightening and really illustrates how we often live our lives.
“…But you were unwilling, and you said, “No! We will flee upon horses”; therefore you shall flee away; and, “We will ride upon swift steeds”; therefore your pursuers shall be swift. A thousand shall flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you shall flee, till you are left like a flagstaff on the top of a mountain, like a signal on a hill.” (Isaiah 30:15-17 ESV)
I think – “Surely God needs my help!” – “Surely God needs my effort!” NO! – God needs my heart! He is my victory and my hope. As I learn to rest in Him – He both leads the way, directs my steps, and gives me the grace to walk in His victory and freedom. Resting in the Lord is not a call to inactivity. It is a call to obedience. It is a call to stop charging ahead in our own wisdom and strength, and to begin walking after the one Who goes before us – in the power of His Holy Spirit. It is a call to be an overcomer by grace through faith in Jesus Christ!
Lord, this morning I pray that You would quiet my heart so that I can hear Your voice. You already knows what lies ahead of me today. Lead me and guide me through this day so that I may abide in Your love, walk in Your will, discover Your grace, and enter into Your rest!
In Jesus Name!