Sep 22, 2021, 11:49 AM
Many have foolishly departed from God’s Presence to go it on their own. Down the line, it dawns on them that those years away from God have been wasted. Life is a rugged path, replete with mountains to test our resistance. However hard we try to go it alone, the obstacles that confront us will one day become impossible to scale. The power to speak to those mountains (challenges) comes from the relationship we have knitted with God Himself.
We are constantly reminded that we did not come here of our own volition; that every human being is a part of God’s plan - a puzzle in the jigsaw that only you can fill. “Unless the Lord builds the house its builders labour in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city the watchmen stand guard in vain.” (Psalm 127:1)
This is a hostile world ruled by Satan and his cohorts. Only God’s covering could safely see us through it, unperturbed. Why? Because on our own we can do nothing. We are not just a match for the devil. We can only experience a safe haven under God’s wings. We are emboldened to walk in this world knowing that ‘God will never leave us, never forsake us.’ The only One that can defeat and has conquered the devil is Jesus. “And having disarmed the powers and authorities He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” (Colossians 2:15)
For forty years the Presence of the God of Israel went with the Children of Israel through the wilderness in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, guiding them and providing them protection from hostile nations. His Presence was like a wall or a shield of protection around them. The Children of Israel moved when the pillars moved and were stationary when they stood steady.
At one stage of the journey, God asked Moses to design the Ark of the Covenant which represented His Presence. However, whenever they disobeyed God, their enemies would get the upper hand. On occasions, they even seized the Ark and carried it with them. Each time their enemies overcame them, life became miserable for the Israelites. God’s Presence departed from them. It meant defeat after defeat. Not until they repented of their sins, and the Ark of the Covenant was recovered, did they have peace.
God had promised patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that He would bring the Children of Israel out of Egypt into the Promised Land. But when it was time for them to enter the Land, God declined to go with them. He told Moses; “Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey, but I will not go with you, because you are a stiffed-necked people and I might destroy you on the way.” (Exodus 33:3)
But Moses reminded God that the nation of Israel were His people and God ensured him: “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:14) Then Moses said to God, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that You are pleased with me and with Your people unless You go with me and Your people from all the other people on the face of the earth.” (verse 15-16) The strained relationship was restored. “If God is for us who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)
God honours His word each time we are obedient. Outside of His will, there is no guarantee His Presence will be with us. He warned father Abraham when the latter was being distracted by Sarah and Hagar, to; “Walk before Me and be blameless.” (Genesis 17:1b) Prophet Isaiah exhorts thus: “This is the way, walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21) A Gospel artist sings: ‘Because You’re with me, I will not fear. my Hiding Place, my Safe Refuge … my Strength and Shield, Anointed One, Most Holy!”
A hymn writer penned; ‘When we walk with the Lord, in the light of His Word what a glory He sheds on our way.’ (Methodist Hymn Book 516) In the Great Commission in which Jesus commanded His disciples to go into the world and preach the good news to all the nations, teaching them what they have heard from Him, it ends “… And I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
This is the assurance that the Word of God gives. In our own strength we can accomplish nothing noteworthy. When Christ is at the helm of our affairs, we can stand firm with the confidence that He is always by our side. “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10)
Maybe you have walked out of God’s Presence for long only to realise that the devil is a liar; he has deceived you ‘big time’. God is asking you to return to Him. He promises never to drive away the one who comes to Him after admitting he or she got it all wrong.
Prophet Isaiah wraps it up thus: “Fear not for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters; I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.” (Isaiah 43:1b – 3a)
Draw near to Him, believing that God’s Presence covers every aspect of our lives.