"You go first, Mommy." It was the plea my shy son made each time we were about to enter any place there were people. He wanted the comfort of knowing I was going before him, that I would be between him and any well-meaning stranger who might want to talk to him. Aren't we the same? We want the assurance of knowing someone has gone before us, traveled the road we're on and survived. We can take comfort in knowing our God goes before us.
Psalm 68 is part reflective and part Messianic in nature. David is reflecting on the exodus and the trek through the wilderness in the first verses. Then in the latter verses, he speaks of the King "ascending on high" and of Gentile nations coming in submissive worship before Him.
From this Psalm, we learn three things about our God.
1) God goes before us and fights our battles.
In his commission of Joshua, Moses said:
"The Lord your God Himself will cross over ahead of you. He will destroy these nations before you, and you will take possession of their land." Deuteronomy 31:3
While rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem Nehemiah told the people:
"The work is extensive and spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. Whenever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!" Nehemiah 4:19-20
And Jeremiah declared:
"But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior; so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced; their dishonor will never be forgotten."
The Old Testament boasts story after story of the Lord coming to the defense of His people. God is the same God who fought for His people then. He will fight for us now.
2) God goes before us and clears away obstacles.
The prophet Isaiah spoke of clearing away stones, making rough places smooth, and crooked places straight in several places. This refers to the practice of preparing a highway for a king and his entourage. In ancient times when a king came through a village, slaves would walk in front of his chariot clearing away rocks, filling in holes, and straightening crooks in the road to ensure the monarch had the smoothest of rides.
God does the same for us. He removes the rocks of fear. He fills in the pits of temptation. He straightens the curves of doubt. He does this through His Holy Spirit living in us. Jesus said:
"And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive Him, because it isn't looking for Him and doesn't recognize Him. But you know Him because He lives with you now and later will be in you." John 14:16-17
Through His Spirit in us God removes the rocks of fear:
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity; but of power, of love, and self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7
Through His Spirit in us God fills in the pits of temptation:
"No temptation has overtaken you except that is common to mankind. God is faithful; He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." 1 Corinthians 10:13
Through His Spirit in us God straightens curves of doubt:
"God Himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee, He has given us His Holy Spirit. So we are always confident, even though we know as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. For we live by believing and not by seeing."
2 Corinthians 5:5-7
3) God goes before us and prepares a place for us.
God sent Jesus into the world to save us. Psalm 68:20 says:
"Our God is a God who saves! The Sovereign Lord rescues us from death!"
John 3:16 tells us:
"For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life."
"The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. But I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10
By sending Jesus into the world God prepared a place in His family for us. When Jesus died for our sins He prepared the way into God's family. And when He rose and ascended into heaven He began and continues to prepare a place for us there.
"My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not son, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you may be where I am. John 14:2-3
We can be thankful our God goes before us each and every day.
Gathered manna for Psalm 68 is:
God always preceeds us therefore He deserves our praise.
Where have you seen God go before you and fight for you? When has God gone before you and removed obstacles? How has God gone before you and prepared a place for you? Write down all these times you can remember. Spend time in prayer thanking God for being a previous God!
I hope we all remember we have a previous God. Praying we can see Him going before us each day and give Him proper praise.
Until next time keep gathering manna, growing deeper, and gaining intimacy!
May God bless and keep you,