God Promises to Go Before His People and Be Their Rear Guard
In Isaiah’s lengthy prophecy, he tells God’s people in Jerusalem that they need to leave. However, they don’t need to leave in haste. This is because God will go before them and he will take up the rear. That means, God will pave the way and he has their back.
That’s so comforting. However, this promise is to God’s people in Jerusalem. Does it apply to us today?
Yes and no.
Since Isaiah specifically gives this prophecy and its promise to the people in Jerusalem, we would take it out of context to apply it to us today. We would be wrong to read this passage and automatically conclude that God will always go before us and watch our back.
However, that doesn’t mean he won’t do this. For God to travel with us, going before us on our path to pave the way and guarding us from a rear attack, we need to ask God to do this.
Instead of Claiming a Comforting Verse, Ask God for It
Since God promised to do this for his people in Jerusalem, this idea of him going before and bringing up the rear isn’t unprecedented. If he took care of them then, he’ll likely take care of us today. But we can’t claim this verse as our own.
It doesn’t apply to us. Instead we must pray it. We must ask God to go before us to prepare the path for our journey. And we must ask God to follow behind us, to protect us from surprise attacks that might catch us off guard.
We should keep this principle in mind as we read the Bible. Just because we see a comforting verse doesn’t mean it automatically applies to us today.
We’d be in error to claim it as our own when it belongs to someone else. However, we can certainly seek God’s provision and ask him to apply it to us today.
After all, if he did it for his people once, there’s a good chance he’ll do it for us again.
Read more about the book of Isaiah in For Unto Us: 40 Prophetic Insights About Jesus, Justice, and Gentiles from the Prophet Isaiah available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.