Many of us are striving to be more, to be better. We believe we do not measure up in many — perhaps any — areas of life. We believe we must be independent, competent, and pulled together. There is little, if any, room in our lives for error, lack of knowledge, or inability to get the job done well. We may be familiar with the adage, “No man is an island,” but do not think it applies to us.
God does not expect us to be independent, competent, and pulled together. He allows errors, lack of knowledge, and inability to get the job done. He never intended for us to take on life’s tasks and challenges alone. He has been involved with His children from the beginning and will remain involved with them until the end. Far more life is being connected to and involved with God in all areas of life.
I will be with you.
I count at least 29 times in the Bible when God or Jesus tells an individual or group that He will be with them. I count at least 5 more where a Biblical writer reminds others that God has promised to be with them. The situations these people faced are similar to those we face. We can rest assured that God is still with His children, offering them far more life.
God promised to be with His children when they were facing a new challenge.
- This includes Moses, who was called to lead the Israelites out of the control of a powerful man he was hiding from (Exodus 3:12).
- God reassured Joshua with the promise as he prepared to take leadership from Moses and move the Israelites into the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 31:23).
- God restated His promise twice in one pep talk to Joshua after Moses’ death (Joshua 1:5 & 1:8).
- When Jesus was preparing the disciples to advance His kingdom, He promised the Holy Spirit would be with them forever (John 14:16-17).
God promised to be with His children who were in a difficult situation.
- He made this promise to Isaac when He told him to remain in an area plagued with famine (Genesis 26:3).
- Isaac heard this promise again when his neighbors became jealous of his success (Genesis 26:24).
- At least 3 times when God instructed Jeremiah to speak His truth to the rebellious Israelites, He promised to be with him (Jeremiah 1:8, 1:19, 46:28).
God promised to be with His children as they faced the consequences of their sin.
- When Jacob was on the run after deceiving his father to steal his brother’s blessing, God appeared to him in a dream and promised to be with him (Genesis 28:15).
- After God allowed the rebellious Israelites to be oppressed by the Midianites, He ordered Gideon to cut down the enemy army and promised to be with him (Judges 6:12 & 6:16).
- Centuries later the Israelites rebelled again and God proclaimed He was with them through more oppression (Isaiah 41:10, 43:2, 43:5)
God reminded David of His presence when reining in his plans. The story is told twice of David’s desire to build a temple to provide God an earthly dwelling. God told David “no” then reminded him that He had always been with him, wherever he was (2 Samuel 7:9 & I Chronicles 17:8).
God promised to be with His chosen people as they obeyed and followed Him.
- When telling Jeroboam of His plans to make him king, God promised to be with him on the condition that he obeyed His commands and decrees (I Kings 11:38).
- Later God spoke through multiple prophets to remind the Israelites that He would be with them when they turned back to obedience (Isaiah 58:9; Jeremiah 15:20, Amos 5:14).
- When the people were restored to their land, God said He would be with them as they rebuilt His temple (Haggai 1:13).
- When Jesus gave the Great Commission, He promised to be with His followers always (Matthew 28:20).
- In the gospel of John, Jesus promised He and God will be with those who love Him (John 14:23).
God promised to be with His chosen people when they chose His plans over their own logic.
- After a group of Israelite men went on a killing spree, others who feared for their lives wanted to move away; but God said He would be with them if they stayed put (Jeremiah 42:11).
- When Paul encountered controversy in Corinth, the Lord appeared to Him in a dream, instructing him to remain there and promising to be with him and protect him (Acts 18:10).
One benefit of living after Christ is that the Holy Spirit lives inside every believer who has accepted Him as Savior. We have no reason to question God’s presence in our lives, but we are tempted to take it for granted. We forget to tap into His power, knowledge, and wisdom. We forsake far more life by trying to do life on our own.
Far more life is dependent on God. Period. We are dependent on Him for our existence, for salvation from our sin, for everything in this life and the life to come. We have nothing to prove and nothing to gain from trying to be independent from Him. We are not competent. We are not pulled together. We make errors. We lack knowledge. We are unable to complete His jobs on our own. We will never outgrow our need for Him. Fortunately, we can trust the words spoken by King David’s advisor, Nathan:
The Lord is with you. (2 Samuel 7:3, NIV)
How are you tempted to live independently?
Which category of God’s promise to be with us is most meaningful to you? Why?
Do you have the Holy Spirit living inside of you? If not, what is stopping you from accepting Christ? If so, are you willing to depend on Him — not yourself — for everything?
Thank God that far more life depends on Him — and He offers it to us freely!