by Susan Hanson Budensiek
God goes before us. The scriptures tell us so. Probably the most well-known passage to plainly spell it out is Exodus 13:21. “Adonai went ahead of them in a column of cloud during the daytime to lead them on their way, and at night in a column of fire to give them light; thus they could travel both by day and by night.” (CJB)
In the first chapter of Deuteronomy, Moses reminded the children of Israel of that fact as they stood contemplating entering the promised land. “Adonai your God, who is going ahead of you, will fight on your behalf, just as he accomplished all those things for you in Egypt before your eyes,” Deuteronomy 1:30 (CJB)
Later, as Moses is bequeathing leadership of these folks to Joshua, in front of all Israel, he says, “But Adonai — it is he who will go ahead of you. He will be with you. He will neither fail you nor abadon you, so don’t be afraid or downhearted.” Deuteronomy 31:8 (CJB)
About 700 years later, God tasks the prophet Isaiah with proclaiming to the people,
“You need not leave in haste,
you do not have to flee;
for Adonai will go ahead of you,
and the God of Isra’el will also be behind you.” Isaiah 52:12 (CJB)
And King David left no question whether God does this in the Psalms when he wrote things like Psalm 139:5…
“You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.” (NLT)
Considering the number of times this is written directly and many the places it is implied and described throughout the Bible, there should be no doubt our God does this. I have always believed that since I first read it many years ago. But what I also did was to simply accept it as a one-sided situation that is just the way it is. For years. I didn’t even dwell on it for an extra minute.
Until recently, that is. I have been in a season of my spiritual walk that reminds me of a maze. As I thought and prayed, and thought and prayed some more, seeking answers, I ran across Isaiah 52:12 again. I wondered why I seemed to be in the dark about things if God was going before me. Then I read more of David’s psalms. Slowly things started coming together. David had total confidence that God was going before him, leading him where he should go.
I wondered, “Why doesn’t God go before and lead me?” As I formed the words of that question in my mind, deliberating why it was so easy for King David, the answer came. It came as the words of my question hung briefly suspended in time for what was probably only a second or two – God goes before us the same as He did for the children of Israel during the Exodus and the same as He did for King David – but we must follow. It is, after all, a two-sided situation.
God does indeed go before us. But to what end if we do not follow?
Where He leads me, I will follow.
I was raised in church but always felt like I was missing something. Now the Word of God excites me! My curiosity enhances pursuance of discernment. I have often felt discouraged, but not totally defeated knowing that in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.