God promises to go before you as a warrior, and to defend you from your rear, where you cannot see! Find out how!
[SW168] 01/10/2015 message notes by Sister Susan J. Wynn ©2015
Isaiah 52:12 But you will not go out in haste,
Nor will you go as fugitives;
For the LORD will go before you,
And the God of Israel will be your rear guard.
God’s Almighty promise is that He will go before you —
Go before = halak to walk continually, be conversant, lead, march, run
As you go, He continually is with you, ahead of you!
— He is Almighty God, and nothing and no one can overcome Him or defeat Him
— He leads you, and you walk in His way
— He converses with you, He talks with you as you follow Him
— He is on the march, a mighty warrior leading his troops
— He protects you from what lies ahead of you
— He moves obstacles out of your way
— He exposes and destroys enemy plots and traps
And He is your rear guard!
— No one will attack you from the rear, because of His presence. Enemy defeat is assured!
— The Enemy’s most subtle attacks are from that position, but God is there!
— He defends you at your weakest point, because you cannot see behind you as you walk forward
— He makes sure you stay focused as you march forward
— You will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way; walk in it,” when you turn to the right or the left (Isaiah 30:21).
You can’t lose, with God before you and behind you!
Let’s look at a King who had these promises, so we might learn a truth:
2Chronicles 17:4 Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, sought God.
— He treaded God’s way,
— frequented God’s presence,
— followed God
— Worshiped God,
— diligently inquired of God.
He did not seek the Baals or golden calves, like Ahab, King of northern Israel, who was one of God’s chosen people, but in name only.
2Chronicles 18:1 But Jehoshaphat took his eyes of God and tried to manipulate his circumstances.
He made an alliance with wicked Ahab, arranging a marriage between Ahab’s daughter and Jehoshaphat’s son, Jehoram (2Chronicles 21:6), to secure peace with Northern Israel.
The prophet Jehu rebuked him (2Chronicles 19:2-3), saying, “ Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD and bring wrath on yourself from the LORD? But there is good in you, for you have removed the Asheroth from the land and you have set your heart to seek God.”
Then, in 2Chronicles 20 —
— A huge army came against Judah (20:1)
— Jehoshaphat prayed to God (20:6-12)
— A prophet gave him a word that the Lord will fight for Judah (20:17)
— Jehoshaphat sent forth worshipers before his army (20:21)
— The Lord sent an ambush, without the involvement of Judah’s army,
and his enemies ultimately killed each other off (20:22-23)
What a great victory! The Lord was with Jehoshaphat, going before him, and being his rear guard, just as God promises in Isaiah 52.
— He again took his eyes off God and tried to manipulate his circumstances by making another alliance with King Ahaziah, Ahab’s son who now reigned in Northern Israel.
— So he built ships with the rebellious King of Israel
But a prophet came and said, “The Lord destroys your works,” and indeed, the Lord destroyed what Jehoshaphat and Ahaziah had built.
The Lord says to us that if we take our eyes off Him, and try to manipulate our circumstances by making alliances with the world, with backsliders, with compromisers, He will not go before us nor be our rear guard.
Why? Is God a liar? May it never be! He is not a man, that He should lie (Numbers 23:19, Titus 1:2).
Look at Isaiah 52 again:
Isaiah 52:11 Depart, depart, go out from there,
Touch nothing unclean;
Go out of the midst of her, purify yourselves,
You who carry the vessels of the LORD.
AND THEN comes Isaiah 52:12, His promise to go before us and be our rear guard!
Jehoshaphat took his eyes off the Lord and made alliances with those who rebel against God in order to manipulate his circumstances. If you do the same, God will not go before you or be your rear guard. What you build will be destroyed by Him, O church, O Christian!
Paul quotes Isaiah 52:11 to the Corinthian church:
2Corinthians 6:14 Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?
16 Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said,
“ I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM;
AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.
17 “ Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord.
“AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN;
And I will welcome you.
18 “ And I will be a father to you,
And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,”
Says the Lord Almighty.
How do we keep from straying, from being bound together, from making alliances that lift His protection off us, so He will not go before us and be our rear guard, be our Father, and make us His sons and daughters? We must read on!
2Corinthians 7:1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of
God. (NOTE: “Let us” is not in the original Greek. So this is a command, not a suggestion.)
This is a word for us, the answer to our waywardness. King Jehoshaphat sought the Lord most of the time, and trusted Him most of the time. But he could not perfect (complete) holiness. He could not completely fulfill or accomplish or finish it. He kept taking his eyes off God and trying to manipulate his circumstances, making alliances with the wicked that made God lift His protection off him.
When God the Father sent Jesus Christ to die and be raised again, to ascend back to Him and be glorified at His right hand, Jesus poured out the Holy Spirit in a new way, so when we are baptized in the Holy Spirit, we are able to walk in the promise of protection because our hearts no longer wander!
We have the promise that He will make us holy, set apart for Him, when His Holy Spirit indwells us, but also the promise that He will make us no longer slaves to sin, to wandering, to manipulating our circumstances, to taking our eyes off God. Holiness is completed in us, so that we hate sin and backsliding and compromise just as He commands, and will not make alliances with those who rebel against Him — the world, and those in the church who give God lip service but their hearts are far from Him.
If you have been as Jehoshaphat, come into the truth today. Ask the Lord to baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire, and He will come and cleanse your heart from waywardness. And surely, the Lord will go before you always, and always be your rear guard!