Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Is not the Lord gone out before thee.”
Judges 4: 14
King James Version
“Getting Behind the Guide”
“Where God guides, He provides.”
Is there a place in my life where I need to know that my heavenly Father has, “gone out before” me?
“I am satisfied that when the Almighty wants me to do or not to do any particular thing, He finds a way of letting me know.”
“Teach me Thy way, O Lord; I will walk in Thy truth….”
Psalm 86: 11
King James Version
What I love about the Bible is the orderliness we find throughout the truths contained from Genesis to Revelation.
Take for example the story of creation in Genesis. God started by bringing the firmament into existence. He didn’t create man first with no place to put his feet, no water to drink, and no air to breath. Step-by-step there was a logical progression in all God did. As we have studied about individuals who lived in the Old Testament, we have found this same orderly behavior as God has led His children gently along.
The texts in Judges, which we are studying today, are a perfect example.
God began building His foundation – the rescue of His children from the hand of Sisera – by choosing the right leader at the right time. A woman, no less, named Deborah. Second, God gave her a message of hope, “I’ve already given you victory.” Next, God sent Deborah to Barak with a message of courage and instruction, “It’s time to get up and move.”
But God, in His orderliness didn’t just say, “Start moving!” He gave this reassurance to His children, “I the Lord am going out before you.” What a confidence builder these words are.
God told Deborah and Barak, “You aren’t the scouts here, I am. Let me forge the path for you.”
When I was young, my dad who grew up being part of an active Boy Scout Troop in Tempe, Arizona, used to be asked to take young people hiking, especially in the Superstition Mountains outside of Phoenix. Early in the morning, from my little pup tent, I could see my dad out before everyone else, mapping out the foot trail, checking the supplies of food and water, and making certain that the first aid kit was stocked with anything needed for an emergency. This is what a “real” leader does. The care of those who are following them is uppermost in their thoughts.
And this is why God put things in order for Deborah. He asked her to accept the responsibilities He had for her. He even gave her a message filled with hope. Then, God said, “It’s time to stop talking and get up and move.”
However, and this is critical, God instructed Deborah, Barak, and all His children to watch the Guide. He didn’t tell them to run ahead. He didn’t tell them to watch each other. He didn’t even tell the children of Israel to watch Deborah or Barak. Instead, He said, “Watch the ‘One’ who is going out before you.” We need to remember this as our eyes are so often diverted from our heavenly Guide to some earthly person.
It isn’t always easy to walk behind God. I’ve run ahead of Him so many times in my life I’ve lost count. And I can report to you from personal experience that none of my self-led jaunts, as well-intentioned as they may have been, ended successfully. And for good reason.
It’s because you and I have limited vision. From God’s heavenly dwelling, He views my life in a much broader, deeper and higher view than I do. I am cramped by my little world, my little wants, and my little worries. These are what I focus on because this is what I see.
All God asks of you and me is that when He calls us, we respond. And when we respond, and “get up” to do His bidding, He then says, “Let me go out before you.”
I have to tell you, I love the idea of having my heavenly Father go ahead on the path and warn me when there are potholes and cliffs and sharp curves. I love the idea of having my Father help me when I come to a detour or there’s a fork in the road and I don’t know which way to go. My problem is that if my heavenly “Dad” doesn’t walk as fast as I think He should or doesn’t take me into every lush, green meadow I think He should, I often lose my patience and rush ahead, only to find myself lost or having plunged over a cliff.
The Psalmist David evidently had the same problem, running ahead of his heavenly Guide. David learned there was an important characteristic present in those who chose to walk behind and follow God. In Psalm 25: 9, David said, “The meek will He teach His way.” Lest we mistakenly think that to be “meek” means we are doormats to be walked upon, to be “meek” means to be humble or gentle-minded. When I am meek, my mind is in the position to be open to the instruction of my heavenly Father. I am, as a meek person, willing to be guided by the “Someone” who has promised me that He will go before me, because He knows the way.
“(She) that is down needs fear no fall,
(She) that is low no pride.
(She) that is humble ever shall
have God to be (her) guide.”
The Pilgrim’s Progress
“Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,
Pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but Thou art mighty;
Hold me with Thy powerful hand.
Open now the crystal fountain,
Whence the healing stream doth flow;
Let the fire and cloudy pillar
Lead me all my journey through.”
“And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light….”
Exodus 13: 21
King James Version
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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