Forward march: March forth on March 4


Most remarkably, the fourth of March is the only day of the year that is expressed as a command, an imperative sentence: March Forth! We also note the intersection of another unofficial holiday, National Grammar Day, observed on March 4.

Instead of expounding upon the Verse of the Day, as we usually do, today we will take a look at the Word for the Day. Although the Bible does not use the exact words “march forth,” we find a similar expression used in the Amplified Bible in Psalm 68:7:

O God, when You went forth before Your people, when You marched through the wilderness—Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!—

Psalm 45:4 also uses a related expression:

In your majesty ride forth victoriously in the cause of truth, humility and justice; let your right hand achieve awesome deeds.

In a couple of instances in the Old Testament, we note commands to march forward:

When the Children of Israel advanced into the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua, one of the first places that they encountered was the ancient city of Jericho, a fortified city surrounded by a great wall. Joshua gave orders to the Children of Israel, ultimately leading to victory. Joshua 6:7 (Holman Standard Bible) indicates what they were told to do:

He said to the people, “Move forward, march around the city, and have the armed troops go ahead of the ark of the LORD.”

Another place where Israel marched forth into victory occurred when David inquired of the Lord before going against the Philistines, and God Almighty told him how to proceed:

1 Chronicles 14:15 in the Holman Christian Standard Bible:

When you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, then march out to battle, for God will have marched out ahead of you to attack the camp of the Philistines.”

In yet another account, we note that when the Children of Israel are departing from Egypt, they encounter the first of a series of challenges, as the Egyptians are in hot pursuit behind them and the Red Sea rises as a barrier ahead of them. Exodus 14:13-16 unfolds what occurred and relates the Word of the Lord for Moses and the people:

13 Then Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid! Take your stand [be firm and confident and undismayed] and see the salvation of the LORD which He will accomplish for you today; for those Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see again. 14 The LORD will fight for you while you [only need to] keep silent and remain calm.” 15 The LORD said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to move forward [toward the sea]. 16 As for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, so that the sons of Israel may go through the middle of the sea on dry land.

In a similar manner when we encounter obstacles and situations that could so easily overwhelm us, we must follow God’s command to move forward.

In the military, we hear the command “Forward March.” “Forward” is the preparatory command whereby the individual shifts weight to the right foot before stepping out smartly on the left foot with on the command “march.”
Today is a day that speaks a command: Forward March!—March Forth—on March 4th. Today we will follow the command of the Lord and March forth into victory:

Now thanks be unto God who always causes us to triumph in Christ and makes manifest the sweet savor of His knowledge by us in every place. (1 Corinthians 2:14).

We march forward, moving from faith to faith, from glory to glory, and from victory to victory, not just today but every day of our lives.

An appropriate song to close out this blog entry is “Moving Forward” by Israel Houghton:

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