“Then your Righteous One will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.” (Isaiah 58:8)
rear guard? that’s a military term – does that mean only those actively engaged in battle against an enemy, requiring military type maneuvers would need a rear guard? What about us civilians? I personally think daily life is hazardous enough that a rear guard would come in quite handy. Where do I go to sign up for one of those?
Then I remember that I am in a battle every day of my life, for my very life. I consider this warning from 1 Peter 5:8-9, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” I definitely could use the protection of a rear guard from that kind of an enemy.
Ephesians 6:12 tells me, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
fighting an unseen enemy means I am in need of a rear guard more than ever
rear guard may be a military term, but I love the picture that it paints in my mind of someone having my back. The enemy that I can see is far less of a threat than the enemy I cannot see. I may be able to defend an attack confronting me face to face but I am defenseless against an unseen attacker from behind. I need someone to have my back. We all do.
It is considered the height of cowardice to attack someone from behind when they are not looking, but people still do it. Hence the need for a rear guard. No wonder identifying someone as a “back stabber” is considered such a huge insult. It doesn’t take any courage at all to attack someone from behind, they never see it coming and consequently, have no chance to prepare to defend themselves.
In Isaiah 52:12 the Israelites are told not to worry, “for the Lord will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.” God was leading them but He also had their backs, literally.
David said the same thing of God when he wrote in Psalm 139:5-6, “You hem me in – behind and before; You have laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.”
That is very reassuring news to me, that God goes behind me, (as well as before me) protecting me from harm that would otherwise sneak up on me unannounced from behind. Who better to have my back than my Heavenly Father?
Psalm 121:7-8 says, “The Lord will keep you from all harm – He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”
this Psalm also tells me that He will not let my foot slip – He will not slumber; He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. (Psalm 121:3-4)
That’s the kind of rear guard I want – always with me, ever vigilant, and able to be in multiple places at once, so He can lead me and protect me at the same time. Only my Heavenly Father can do that. He is the only one who knows “the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come.” (Isaiah 46:10)
He says in Revelation 22:13, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”
God is the perfect, the ultimate rear guard and He’s got my back! I guess I’m good to go wherever He leads me, knowing that the glory of the Lord, the God of Israel, is my rear guard. That’s what His word says. This knowledge gives me confidence, courage and peace as I live each day, coming and going. I don’t have to constantly watch my back. My Heavenly Father is doing that for me. (and He never sleeps!) He is the only rear guard I will ever need.
“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal.” (Isaiah 26:3-4)
sincerely, Grace Day