Summary: We are instructed to be aware of how our enemy works against us. However, it is also essential to know how God works. We need to learn His tactics so that we won't miss His hand moving in our life.
Pt. 2 - After
In the New Testament, Paul instructs us to be aware of how our enemy works. In 2 Corinthians 2:11, he says “After all, we don’t want to unwittingly give Satan an opening for yet more mischief—we’re not oblivious to his sly ways!”
We are to be familiar with his tactics so that we don’t become vulnerable to those attacks. That is why you must know your weaknesses and the schemes the enemy continues to throw at you that cause you to stumble. But I have come to the conclusion that more than a fair share of us have focused so much on what our enemy is doing and how he works that we have in turn failed to recognize or become familiar with how God works. We don’t know His tactics so the result is we tend to ignore Him, fight Him, miss Him, and even think His work is the enemies work.
So, we are trying to learn how God works so that we cooperate and participate with Him! So, last week we talked about the fact that God goes before us. Today I want to talk to you about "After".
Isaiah is addressing the captive nation of Israel. They are bound by the Babylonians. Last week I read to you Isaiah 45:2 where he declared that God would go before them. Now he repeats the same proclamation but then gives us a glimpse into another tactic that God uses throughout Scripture and in our lives as well.
But you will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the Lord will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.
He repeats this in 58:8.
So not only does God go before us in battle He also comes behind us in battle.
A rearguard is a detachment of troops detailed to guard the rear of a moving column. The rearguard is generally used for security during a forward movement.
The Art of War said, "Ground that is of great advantage to either side is contentious ground....On contentious ground, hurry up your rearguard." How many of you would agree we are in contentious times. That makes the fact that God is your rearguard extremely important.
So, you will remember the important statement I told you to remember last week . . . He prepares the way ahead of our arrival! But when God chooses to use the tactics of coming behind us we need to understand that it is necessary to prepare the way for the Lord.
The quintessential account of this God tactic is when Moses and Israel on their way out of bondage find themselves at the Red Sea. God has gone before them and forced Pharaoh to release them. However, now they don't experience God ahead, but rather God behind. They step into the sea and God opens up the path and then comes behind them and destroys the army that follows them.
So let me say something to you that we need to know regarding this tactic.
1. The next step is often OUR step.
Too often we are waiting on God when He is waiting on us! God could not come behind Moses until the Israelites first stepped forward. We want God to prepare and He is waiting on us to make preparation. You will never experience this tactic if you are not willing to step out in faith. You have no need for a rear guarding God if you are not behind enemy lines! If you are constantly playing it safe you will not see this tactic.
• Noah is vindicated after he builds the ark.
• The leper was cleansed after he took the steps to dip.
• Jesus came after Peter when he stepped out into danger.
• The bed ridden man is healed after his friends tear off the roof and lower him before Jesus.
• The multitude is fed after the little boy steps forward with his lunch.
When He is after we have to prepare the way!
So how do we participate in this tactic? How do we prepare the way for God?
• How do we prepare the way to prepare the way for a blessing? We give. The reason we teach you tithing (10%) is not so the church is blessed it is because tithing is the prescribed preparation needed to open the door to your blessing.
• To pave the way for forgiveness we repent.
• To prepare the way for a miracle we obey.
• To prepare the way for a promotion we must be faithful in the small because it is then that we will then be given much.
• To prepare for a breakthrough in our marriage we get counseling, we honor, and we prefer.