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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

God Will Never Leave You Nor Forsake You

Deuteronomy 31:7-8 (NIV)
7 Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, "Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their forefathers to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. 8 The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."

I suppose all preachers go into their new churches thinking that they are God's gift to the world. We think that we will be the ones who will be so faithful that God will bless everything we do. We will soon all have mega-churches, write books that no sane Christian can refuse to read and be asked to speak at conferences all over the world.

I have heard of preachers who appear to have this type of success but I don't know any of them personally. The rest of us appear to be people with feet of clay who struggle daily with the work. The challenge of making disciples in today's world seems as great as taking the Promised Land from a people who are already entrenched and armed to the teeth to protect their land.. It is very easy to believe that God has forgotten about you some days. There are even some days you can believe that He has forsaken you.

Moses had to have felt like that at times. It was his own people who gave him the most grief. They elected another leader to take them back to Egypt because they hated his leadership. They sought to stone him. They criticized and spoke badly of him. They complained at every bend in the road.

Yet, Moses tells Joshua in front of the people that God will never leave him nor forsake him. Was this just wishful thinking? Is this just a ceremony to get Joshua to take the leadership?

No, this is a man who is not looking only forward to what God will do but looking backward at what God has done. We clearly see God's hands on our lives as we look backward. Each of the things we saw as challenges we could never overcome seem small. Even the hurtful words of people can be seen as a means to keep us humble and coming to the Lord for our strength.

Unfortunately we can't give our experiences away no matter how many times we talk of them. I can tell you how many times God has provided, healed, given direction, changed people's hearts, changed my own heart moved to do the impossible and, while it may encourage you for a while, it will not substitute for your own walk with the Lord to see Him do all these things for you. Somewhere down deep you have to keep believing that He will not leave you nor forsake you even when the night is dark and it seems like there will never be a morning.

Come and let the Lord give you rest. Know He is with you and working on the challenge you think is impossible. Turn yourself over to Him fully. Then, turn this thing which keeps you up at night over to Him. Confess and do not hide anything you have done wrong. Commit yourself anew. And sweet communion will come to you.

Then, you will know in your heart that He never leaves you nor forsakes you.

2 comments: said...

While it is good to remind ourselves that there is such a verse in Scripture saying that God would NOT leave or forsake, and it is also true that testimonies of others can help build faith, each individual must work from ground zero. At ground zero or whatever level one is on, the next level is always a challenge, for it would NOT be another level, if there is nothing to challenge us.

At ground zero, we drew on the testimonies of others, for we had no testimonies yet, of our own, for our walk had just begun. After some time, and levels, we would have some heritage of our own to look back to, and as Ps Prentis pointed out, it is right and we should look back (and Scripture did encourage such) to how God had moved in our favour, in His grace and mercy, and love and faithfulness; however, for some, because the Lord may bring us to uncharted waters, where the nature of which is in the form, “nothing of the sort, experienced (by us)”, we must still fall back on Who God is.

While it is very tempting to just grab hold of a couple of promises, striped off, their attendant conditions or surrounding parameters, the better thing to do, is to gain understanding of God and His ways, all throughout our life, and especially, we are to feed on His Word all the time. By feeding on His Word, it means we have to study His Word seriously and systematically. For example, it is soon NOT enough for you to just get hold of a list of “great promises” of God penned down by someone else, and memorise them. A list of great promises, taken out of their contexts, often do NOT amount to anything much, in reality, when a crisis hits you. I have a list of what I called, “Words for all seasons”, which I put down on my blogsite (, but I maintain that, to remain myself to find the time to go deep into those words, to understand the contexts, the surrounding parameters, the conditions, the warnings, the exhortations, and NOT just the promises.

I shared before, perhaps, here, in one of the comments, that as children living in a sawmill, where the latrine was far, far away, we could NOT help but “prepare for the rainy days”, by having toilet papers stashed away at some “secret places”, so that we do NOT get caught with our pants down, so to speak! Yah, if I have nothing to wipe my backside with, I would be in trouble! It is the same (God, pardon me for the crude metaphor!) with “Knowing Who God Is”, we should NOT wait until we are in deep shit before we realise we have been too shallow in our knowing of our God, that nothing we rack up can calm the turmoil in us, or that there is just no solution, even God does NOT seem to be solution!

Some preachers and teachers kept drumming into people that it is all about God, nothing to do with us; that it is all God’s part, none, ours, or that we just do NOT need to help (God); but I tell you it is NOT entirely true! For example, in James 1:7 it was said, the one who doubts, he cannot expect to receive anything from the Lord. Now, is it all about God? No, the issue is NOT whether or NOT God doubts, it is if YOU doubt; yes, YOU could be part of the equation of the solution or breakthrough.

Cont... said...

Cont. from above

Well, you might say, “No, I don’t doubt, I just hang on the verse there, Ps Prentis quoted – “he will never leave you or forsake you” – Deu 31:8b. Really, did God literally say He would NOT leave or forsake anyone of the Israelites, no matter what? No, that promise was with conditions, with surrounding parameters. You can read it in the verses before the promises (just read Deu 30:15-20), and in the verses after the promise (verses 16-21 of Deu 31). And if you go into the early chapters of the Book of Judges which detailed about the Jews having entered the Promised Land, you will find that God broke covenant with His people, because the latter broke it, without regards, again and again. God left many people and did NOT come to aid of many people, because these people went against the wishes of God, again and again, and were unrepentant. Yes, there was and is always a remnant preserved by God, but God rarely ever promised blessing, regardless. Corporately, it may be true, but we are each an individual, we should NOT forget.

I am NOT saying Ps Prentis irresponsibly casted easy-believism; no, he did NOT, he did in his ending of his entry, entreat all those in “trouble” to repent, to confess, and come back to the Lord with humility and contrite of heart, seeking God’s forgiveness and restoration. Having said this, still my emphasis in this comment, is that you and I must, in and out of season, endeavour to learn Who God is and His ways, so that having armed ourselves with such, we may NOT be deceived, and strayed. It is so heart-breaking to know that there are many who are deceived and strayed, but do NOT even know what hit them or that they are in the wrong or sin. Only by knowing our God and His ways, that we may be able to stand tall before even the Evil One, and prevail, and be able to successfully maneuver through the levels that we inevitably have pass through, for our development.

Sure, know that there is that such great promise (Deu 31:8b), yet know too, such other facets like your God is a holy God, and so be holy as He is holy; like you have to have the fear of the Lord (meaning to hate all that is evil, for God hates evil); like you are to love God, and so, love your neighbors; like the foundation of God’s throne is His justice and righteousness (Ps 89:14a; Ps 97:2); like you have to seek first, His Kingdom and its righteousness (Matt 6:33), and so on, and so on.

Yes, it takes time, and it requires effort – is there no part of man, in working out his salvation? Phil 2:12 – we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions