In an essay titled “Please Shut This Gate” English author F.W. Boreham describes signs carefully placed by landowners throughout the landscape of New Zealand. “Please shut this gate,” was a message one could read often throughout his countryside, signs placed by fence owners intent on keeping some things from wandering away and some things from wandering in. Boreham has drawn his image from Isaiah 58:8, “Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard” (Taken from Jill Carattini in “A Slice of Infinity”).
There is good reason to close the gate on what is behind us. Behind us are the choices we made that hurt others, ourselves, and, God. If we do not shut the gate on them they could drag us into a self doubt that would sap our energy for doing good to those same people. Leaving the gate open allows the mindset which led us to make those choices to follow us and in times of weakness we will be more inclined to repeat our sins than overcome them.
Closing the gate in the face of Satan puts a barrier between us and him following Peter’s injunction to “flee the devil.” Closing the gate shuts off the many actions and incidents in our lives which hurt our efforts to do right and love God.
When the gate is closed we have not only kept something out we have also retained the good we have grown to learn and be because of God’s grace to us. Maybe it is this process of closing the gate behind us the Psalmist refers to when he exclaims in Psalms 23, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
Yes the path ahead holds challenges, dangers and even suffering, but, not from behind. God has our back and He has asked us to be His front.