Our church is reading through the Bible in one year. When you get into that practice, some familiar passages stand out. These are the passages that created the foundation for those people who walked a life of obedience with God and learned from their walk. One of our songs tells us to “take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide; and run not before Him, whatever betide.”
King David was victorious in one battle and as he prepared for the second battle, he asked the Lord about the method of attacking. Through the prophet, the Lord gave him tactical advice: "As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, move quickly, because that will mean that the Lord has gone in front of you to strike the Philistine army" (2 Sam. 5:24). It is because of this inquiry that the Psalmist was able to write, “Some trust in their horses and some trust in their armies, but we trust in the Lord” (Psalm 20:7).
Even though David had experienced victory, he knew that he needed to follow God’s lead. Godly people before him followed the same pattern. When Moses prepared the people to go and conquer the land of Canaan, he asked the Lord to go before them and said, "We will not go unless you go before us."
Throughout the Scriptures, God the Father and Jesus teach us that we must follow their leading and depend on their help. In one very startling passage, Jesus tells his disciples (and therefore us), “Without me, you can do nothing.” One can take this passage to mean that is by the grace of God that we live and breathe, but one can also understand it that without the power and protection of God we will do anything of eternal value. The things that are done on this earth for Christ and by His power will last eternally.
It is in that context that we read the instruction of Jesus Christ to the Twelve Apostles to wait until they receive the Holy Spirit. The work of the church cannot have transformative and lasting impact unless the Holy Spirit works in us and through us. In conjunction with this reality, we also find the word favor throughout the Bible. We read about it often in the OT, but we also find that Jesus grew up in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man. If we let God lead us, we too will grow in favor.
The author of Hebrews writes that Jesus has freed his people from their fear of death by tasting death for everyone. He tasted death, He defeated death, and we as His followers believe that likewise we shall defeat death because we are following where He led.
A beloved hymn tells us that “anywhere with Jesus, we can safely go.” This means that we can even follow Him to the throne of the God of the universe. One of my favorite verses is found in the book of Hebrews where the author is challenging us to come with boldness before the throne of grace because Jesus Christ has gone before us.
I pray that in my life I will wait upon the Lord, I will follow the Lord, and I will move in the fullness of the Holy Spirit which God the Father and God the Son sent to guide us.