Monday, January 25, 2016

Never Leaving, Never Forsaking

image used under Creative Commons license, 
photo by Todd Lindeman, from Flickr
Deuteronomy 31:6 (NKJV)  Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.

Hebrews 13:5 (NKJV)  Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." 

We're used to the verse in Hebrews, but most of us never think about that promise going all the way back to the Torah, in the book of Deuteronomy.  But the two highlight different suggested responses.  Let's think about that.

The version in Deuteronomy tells us to be strong, courageous, not fearing, unafraid.  And, as we look further, the promises and commands expand.

Joshua 1:5 (NKJV)  No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you.

God's statement to Joshua clarifies it.  There's reason to be fearless and courageous.  We have God's strength and power with us.  God reminds us He was with Moses, who recorded the original promise in Deuteronomy.  Now that Joshua has succeeded Moses as soldier leader, God makes the promise to him.

I'm not going to play the "God is no respecter of persons" card on this one.  But there are enough examples of God taking care of His people in times of need.  That pretty well covers it.  Till we get to David.

1 Chronicles 28:20 (NKJV)  And David said to his son Solomon, "Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD God--my God--will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD."

David quotes Deuteronomy, until he gets to "until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD."  That makes it sound like there's a limit to that covering.  But that's not true.  Think about it.  Once we've put ourselves in God's service, there's never a time there isn't something that needs to be done, even if that's just worship and glorifying God.  So, God never rescinds His covering.

There is one way we can come out from under God's covering.  We can choose to act or live in an unGodly manner.  Since God can't be in the presence of sin, when we push Him away, we also push aside His covering.  Take a look at the verse in Hebrews, again.

Hebrews 13:5 (NKJV)  Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." 

Be content and not covetous.  There's an underlying reality.  We're God's children.  So, we have the most important thing there is -- Him!  There's no reason to be covetous of anything else.  And, indirectly, God's telling us "Don't push Me away and don't push My covering away.".

The Old Testament situation was one of a God the Israelites were getting to know and, therefore, felt uncertain about.  Now, we have a God who is continually with us.  We go from an unknown to the All Loving God.  So, we get rid of fear.  But, being human, we still need a nudge away from sin. And away from straying out from under God's covering.

There are four times there's an assurance God won't leave nor forsake us.  That's powerful!  Are you ready to live in contentment instead of fear?



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As you read this, I was supposed to be somewhere on my way back to Baltimore, returning from San Jose. Like my previous posts, this was written ahead of my trip.  But that's been delayed by the east coast blizzard.  So, those prayers for traveling mercies are for Friday.  And the prayers that I hear clearly from God can start anytime.

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