Friday, September 4, 2015
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6, ESV).
For dark days and even darker nights, for stretches of hardship that seem never to end, for the everyday problems of real life, we need to cling to this truth:
God is always with us.
More specifically, God is always with you.
Now say it to yourself, “God is always with me.”
“Is your heart breaking today? God is rushing toward you.”
We see this clearly in Moses’ pep talk to the children of God. “Be strong and courageous,” Moses exhorted them. “Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6). Whoever the “them” is in Deuteronomy 31:6, “they” don’t stand a chance. Let’s get the context.
Moses and the second generation of the post-Egypt children of Israel were standing on the border of the Promised Land. Moses knew he was about to die. Thirty-eight years before, all the parents and grandparents of Israel had camped on this very spot, but they had doubted God was with them and would protect them when they entered the Promised Land. The verdict? No faith—no conquest, no homeland, go wander. All of that generation had died in the wilderness. God was now going to give to the children what the parents wouldn’t trust Him for. So Moses, standing on the exit ramp to heaven, delivered these marching orders (summarized in my words):
“As you go up to face those giants in the land, you might think they are too strong for you, as your parents feared. But keep in mind—God is with you. You’re going to battle some violent opposition; you might be tempted to retreat. But remember—God is with you. You’ll face overwhelming odds; you’ll be incredibly outnumbered. Fear would be your natural response. But hold onto this—God is with you. This fight is not going to be over in ten minutes or ten weeks; there’s no quick solution. When you think it’s taking too long, remember—God is with you.”
“Be strong and courageous,” the weathered old leader said. “Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” I can imagine Moses adding, “Haven’t we learned this to be true in these forty years? He never left us while we were in the wilderness. He never forsook us but always provided what we needed. Why on earth should you fear now?”
Now as then, the worse the days get, the more God is with you. The harder the trial, the closer He moves toward you. Are you feeling crushed? He is rushing toward you to stand by your side and help you. When you’re going through hardship, or when you’re heavyhearted and burdened, God rolls up His sleeves and moves toward you in a way that’s unlike any other time. It doesn’t matter if you can see Him working. His approach may not cause you to feel any different. But it’s the truth—God is right there with you. The harder the days get, the closer He leans in so you can hear His voice. Sometimes it feels like God backs away from you when you hit hard times, but that’s not true. “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18). Is your heart breaking today? God is rushing toward you. He is always with you.
- God is with you. How have you experienced God’s presence in hard times? What comfort do you draw from this truth today?
- How is our confidence (“Do not fear.”) rooted in God’s presence (“He will not leave you.”)? How are those connected in your mind?
Pray Father, for all of us who daily need to renew our confidence and faith in You, help us now to lay hold of Your promise that You will never leave us nor forsake us. Help us to speak and live fearlessly because we are aware we are in Your presence. Lord, You are with me. I am never alone. Is there any greater assurance that I should not fear? Your promise stands, spoken over and over again in Your Word and satisfying Your followers throughout thousands of years—You are with me. I commit this truth to my heart right now. In the powerful name of Jesus I pray, amen.