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Summary: A sermon on how God guides and guards His people.

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Message Notes: October 30, 2011 PM

On the outskirts of town, there was a big old pecan tree by the cemetery fence. One day two boys filled up a bucketful of nuts and sat down by the tree, out of sight, and began dividing the nuts. "One for you, one for me. One for you, one for me," said one boy. Several were dropped and rolled down toward the fence.

Another boy came riding along the road on his bicycle. As he passed, he thought he heard voices from inside the cemetery. He slowed down to investigate. Sure enough, he heard, "One for you, one for me. One for you, one for me." He just knew what it was. "Oh my," he shuddered, "it's Satan and St. Peter dividing the souls at the cemetery. He jumped back on his bike and rode off. Just around the bend he met an old man with a cane, hobbling along. "Come here quick," said the boy, "you won't believe what I heard. Satan and St. Peter are down at the cemetery dividing up the souls." The man said, "Beat it, kid, can't you see it's hard for me to walk." When the boy insisted, though, the man hobbled to the cemetery.

Standing by the fence they heard, "One for you, one for me. One for you, one for me..." The old man whispered, "Boy, you've been tellin' the truth. Let's see if we can see the devil himself." Shaking with fear, they peered through the fence, yet were still unable to see anything. The old man and the boy gripped the wrought iron bars of the fence tighter and tighter as they tried to get a glimpse of Satan. At last they heard, "One for you, one for me. And one last one for you. That's all. Now let's go get those nuts by the fence, and we'll be done."

"The Vanguard and the Rear Guard"

Isaiah 52:12 "For ye 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 rereward.

I. The Vanguard -- "...for the LORD will go before you..."

The Church of Christ is continually represented under the figure of an army. How comforting is this text to the believer who recognizes himself as a soldier and the whole church as an army! The Lord shall go before you. He is out front of us. He is at the point leading the way.

He gets there first. God has already seen your trials and troubles for the next year. The Lord Jehovah has gone before you. He has already been to where you are going. He gets there first.

a. We have an infallible guide

Our guide is unerring and never gets lost or turned around or confused!

In shady, green pastures, so rich and so sweet,

God leads His dear children along;

Where the water's cool flow bathes the weary one's feet,

God leads His dear children along.

Sometimes on the mount where the sun shines so bright,

God leads His dear children along;

Sometimes in the valley, in darkest of night,

God leads His dear children along.

Though sorrows befall us and evils oppose,

God leads His dear children along;

Through grace we can conquer, defeat all our foes,

God leads His dear children along.

Away from the mire, and away from the clay,

God leads His dear children along;

Away up in glory, eternity's day,

God leads His dear children along.

Refrain:

Some through the waters, some through the flood,

Some through the fire, but all through the blood;

Some through great sorrow, but God gives a song,

In the night season and all the day long.

b. We have an inscrutable guide

Romans 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

We don't have to know the way because He does! We may not understand the way He is leading us but He does!

c. We have an immutable guide

Our guide is unchangeable, unshakable, unstoppable, unflappable; He never ever fails!

II. The Rear Guard - "...and the God of Israel will be your rereward."

The concept of a "rear guard" was important to the

Israelites. There were soldiers who went before the people, assuring no enemies were waiting ahead. There were also soldiers who followed them, ensuring no enemy could come up on them unawares. The need of a "rear guard" is seen in treachery of the Amalekites, who followed the Israelites in their flight from Egypt.

Deuteronomy 25:17 Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt;

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