Isaiah 52:12 (KJV)
“For you shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the LORD will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rearward.”
Have you ever looked back over a week and felt more than a little disheartened over failures and mistakes – the blots on the page that you meant to keep so white?
There is a most beautiful and tender meaning in the word “rearward”.
It may be new to some of you – it means to gather. As the Revised Version puts it, ‘to gather you up.’
An army as it goes forth into a new territory needs a Vanguard to protect the front most part of the army, and a Rearguard to protect the back, so our glorious God uses these two words in speaking of His loving work towards us.
The Lord will go before us. Our Vanguard is the Lord. And the Lord the God of Israel will be our Rearward – following after, not only to defend us, should the enemy attack in the rear, as he often does, but to gather us up if we wave the white flag and are weary because of the journey. And if He gathers us up, He gathers up also the things we have dropped, our poor fallen resolutions, mistakes, everything, and deals with them Himself. There is eternal love and tenderness in these dear words, “The Lord God of Israel shall gather you up.” Not only that, “The glory of The Lord shall be your rearward.”
So as we continue on through this journey of life we need not fear. Eternal love is our Vanguard, the glory of Eternal Love is our Rearguard. The everlasting arms of Everlasting Love shall gather us up.