Going Out and Coming In

*This post originally written for Cobblestone Ladies’ Newsletter. To subscribe to the newsletter, follow this link.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Our teenage son drives a pickup truck a couple years older than he is. It looks like him, too–strong and sturdy, a little rugged, and very dependable. When he started driving, our family installed an app on each of our phones to share our location, record our driving habits, and reduce our car insurance cost. The app notifies our phones when one of us is coming or going.  

When he drives home, Austin passes up our house and turns around in the cul-de-sac so he can park his truck on the street in front of the house. This ritual confuses the app, which sends a triple-chime-notice to my phone: Ding. Austin has arrived home. (He drove past the house.) Ding. Austin has left home. (He’s turning around in the cul-de-sac.) And, finally, Ding. Austin has arrived home. It’s my favorite thing the app provides, the sweet assurance that my people are home and safe. 

When we first installed the app, we marked the map with places we frequent: Memaw and Papaw’s house, school, work, bike trail, park. A normal day of school and work and exercise and fun caused a flurry of notifications as we came and went from place to place. Over the year of 2019, we tallied thousands of comings and goings, ins and outs. And 2020 forecasts an increase of arrivals and departures. 

In the second book of Kings, chapter 11, we learn of a ruthless, murderous woman and a faithful, protective chief priest. When Athaliah learns that her son, King Azahiah of Judah, is dead, she kills all the royal family so that she can can reign over the land. But Jehoiada, the chief priest, and his wife hide King Azahiah’s son for six years while Athaliah reigns. In the seventh year, in order to anoint Joash as the rightful king and end the ruling of Athaliah, the chief priest arranges for the guards, captains, and priests to set up around the king and the house of the Lord. He tells them:

“And the two divisions of you, which come on duty in force on the Sabbath and guard the house of the Lord on behalf of the king, shall surround the king, each with his weapons in his hand. And whoever approaches the ranks is to be put to death. Be with the king when he goes out and when he comes in.2 Kings 11:7-8, ESV

What protection! “Be with the king when he goes out and when comes in.” With a multitude surrounding him, the seven-year-old son-of-a-King was crowned, anointed, and proclaimed King of Judah. And the next chapter says, “…(he) did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all his days…” (12:2).

That is the type of protection, generations earlier, Moses wanted for his people when God told him he was going to die before the Israelites entered the Promised Land:

“Moses spoke to the Lord, saying, “Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation who shall go out before them and come in before them, who shall bring them out and lead them in, that the congregation of the Lord may not be as sheep who have no shepherd.” Numbers 27:15-17

So God commissioned Joshua to lead and protect the Israelites. 

But, oh, Joshua died. And Jehoaida, the same. They left the future generations, they left our generation, without their protection. So who will be with us as we go out and come in? Who will protect us as one decade ends and another begins? Who, but our steadfast, always-faithful, ever-forgiving, all-powerful God?

“I lift my eyes up to the hills.

From where does my help come?

My help comes from the Lord,

who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;

He who keeps you will not slumber…

The Lord will keep

your going out and your coming in

from this time forth and forevermore.” (Psalm 121 vv.1-3, 8)

Psalm 121 is a “Song of Ascent”, a song of confidence in the Lord that was meant to be sung by the people as they traveled to Jerusalem for worship. It is a song of confidence that we can sing from this time forth and forevermore.

2019 is going out, 2020 is coming in. So when the notifications chime in, be confident.

Ding.  Season of diapers and caretaking. The Lord will keep your going out and coming in.

Ding. Your baby is going to college. The Lord will keep your going out and coming in.

Ding. Starting a new job. The Lord will keep your going out and coming in.

Ding. A broken relationship. The Lord will keep your going out and coming in.

Ding. Grief. The Lord will keep your going out and coming in.

Ding. Uncertainty. The Lord will keep your going out and coming in.

Ding. Same-old, same-old. The Lord. Will keep. Your going out. And coming in.

As the new year approaches, be fully confident. You are protected like a youngster surrounded by soldiers with weapons at-the-ready. Know that the Lord will keep your going out and coming in from this time forth and forevermore.

Peace (in your comings and goings),

Shena

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