As the final page of 2009 opened up before me I stumbled upon the final page of Oswald Chamber’s classic My Utmost for His Highest and found this timely and encouraging exhortation. Read it carefully, and let it be for you a worthy word for this season of transition from what was to what will be [taken from Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest, December 31].
You shall not go out with haste, . . . for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard —Isaiah 52:12
Security from Yesterday. “. . . God requires an account of what is past” ( Ecclesiastes 3:15 ). At the end of the year we turn with eagerness to all that God has for the future, and yet anxiety is apt to arise when we remember our yesterdays. Our present enjoyment of God’s grace tends to be lessened by the memory of yesterday’s sins and blunders. But God is the God of our yesterdays, and He allows the memory of them to turn the past into a ministry of spiritual growth for our future. God reminds us of the past to protect us from a very shallow security in the present.
Security for Tomorrow. “. . . the Lord will go before you . . . .” This is a gracious revelation— that God will send His forces out where we have failed to do so. He will keep watch so that we will not be tripped up again by the same failures, as would undoubtedly happen if He were not our “rear guard.” And God’s hand reaches back to the past, settling all the claims against our conscience.
Security for Today. “You shall not go out with haste . . . .” As we go forth into the coming year, let it not be in the haste of impetuous, forgetful delight, nor with the quickness of impulsive thoughtlessness. But let us go out with the patient power of knowing that the God of Israel will go before us. Our yesterdays hold broken and irreversible things for us. It is true that we have lost opportunities that will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past rest, but let it rest in the sweet embrace of Christ.
Leave the broken, irreversible past in His hands, and step out into the invincible future with Him.