“You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.” Ps. 139:5 NLT
What a beautiful image Melissa Taylor gave us to start week 7 of the Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Bible Study of A Confident Heart, by Renee Swope…we are in a “God sandwich”! I love this! I am SAFE…He’s GOT me!
The Hebrew word translated as “BEFORE” is often translated as “EAST” in Scripture, and is related to looking toward the sunrise. This makes me imagine that each and every day, as I watch the sunrise, God’s hand is rising with it and being placed upon my head full of blessing and new mercies (Lam. 3:22-23). Looking at further possible translations for the Hebrew word, I am led to believe that God has eternally, before the beginning of days, gone before me and prepared the way for my life. The “Ancient of Days” (Dan. 7:9) is seated on His throne, from everlasting to everlasting, and is watching over my life daily. AMAZING.
Not only has He gone before me from the beginning of time, and is with me daily; He also comes after me in all things. Even when I stray, He is following where I go so that He can steer me back to safety. I picture Christ as the Shepherd in this verse…when a shepherd watches over his sheep, he steers them from behind and guides them on their way. In John 10:1-18 we read the parable of Jesus being the Good Shepherd taking care of His sheep. When one strays away from the flock, he does not forget it, but he goes after it in order to bring it home to the flock and safety of the fold, just as in Luke 15:3-7 where we hear the parable of Jesus going after the one sheep that has lost its way. I have been that sheep many times and I am so thankful for the ways that the Lord has continued to bring me back into the light of His Word.
In the prayer call on Dec 4th, Melissa highlighted that we are to be “proactive” in our fight against worry. This made me think that we have to be actively MOVING! God is before us and behind us…both prepositional words, but also words that suggest action. For God to be moving along before and behind us…we must also be moving! God wants us to be active in our lives…walking in His truth and promises every day.
Another thing that stood out to me was the comparison between the words of David in Psalm 139:5, and the words of Job in Job 23:8…they seem at first glance to directly contradict each other.
In Psalm 139, David is proclaiming and praising God for being before him, and behind him; whereas Job is saying that he cannot perceive God, either before or behind him:
“Behold, I go forward, but he is not there, and backward, but I do not perceive him” Job 23:8
It is during Job’s confusion and testing that he struggles to see God’s hand over his life. His sight is clouded by all that is going on in his life and He is blinded from seeing God. This can happen to us all and we can learn from Job’s story…we can read on and see the beauty of Job’s recognition in verse 10 that God knows the way that he takes, God is fully aware of all that is happening to him. Throughout the rest of the book, Job is constantly giving recognition to the Lord, and is restored, even blessed in greater ways than before his time of testing.
On p164, Renee offers an easy to remember acronym for worry…Worry Only Robs Rest from You. When I let the circumstances of the trials in my life, and the uncertainty of my future, overwhelm and worry me, I am asking to be “exhausted, anxious, scattered, and depleted”. I am inviting doubt into my life, and asking confidence to leave.
Instead of letting worry rob me of rest…I need to rest in the assurance that, in times of testing and trials, when I am doubting and see nothing but struggles all around me…when my confidence and faith are lacking…God is unchanging. From sunrise to sunset, from the beginning to the end (Rev. 22:13)…he is “the same yesterday and today and forever” Heb. 13:8. He will continue to place His hand of blessing on my life, giving me assurance of His protection and guidance…and no one, and no thing, or circumstance can snatch me away from His hand (John 10:28).
…I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side
The one who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side
And nothing formed against me shall stand
You hold the whole world in Your hands
I’m holding on to Your promises
You are faithful
You are faithful…