Help the Stragglers
Numbers 2:31The camp of Dan brought up the rear when the armies of Israel were on the march. The Danites occupiedthe hindmost place, but their position wasn't important, since they were as truly part of the company as were the foremost tribes. They followed the same fiery cloudy pillar, ate of the same manna, drank of the same spiritual rock, and journeyed to the same inheritance. Come, my heart, cheer up, even though last and least; it is your privilege to be in the army and to fare as they fare who lead the expedition. Someone must be at the rear in honor and esteem, someone must do menial work for Jesus, and why shouldn't it be me? In a poor village among an ignorant peasantry or in a back street among degraded sinners, I will work on and take my assigned place at the rear.
The Danites occupied a very useful place. Stragglers have to be picked up on the march, and lost property has to be gathered from the field. Fiery spirits may dash forward over untrodden paths to learn fresh truth and win more souls to Jesus; but some of a more conservative spirit may be well engaged in reminding the church of her ancient faith and restoring her fainting sons. Every position has its duties, and the slowly moving children of God will find their peculiar state one in which they may be eminently a blessing to the whole company.
The rear guard is a place of danger. There are foes behind us as well as before us. Attacks may come from any quarter. We read that Amalek fell upon Israel and slew some who were at the rear. The experienced Christian will find much work for his weapons in aiding those poor doubting, desponding, wavering souls who are slowest in faith, knowledge, and joy. These must not be left unaided, and therefore let it be the business of well-taught saints to bear their standards among the rear guard. My soul, watch tenderly to help the stragglers today.
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From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.