Day 16

We Remember Your Presence with Us

from the reading plan

Deuteronomy 31:1-8, Isaiah 41:8-10, Isaiah 43:2, John 14:16-18

One of the things I love about the Bible is the timelessness of God’s character throughout Scripture. Everything He does seems to point simultaneously to something He has already done and something He wants us to trust Him to do again later in the story. 

For example, Moses addressed the Israelites toward the end of his life, just as they were about to encounter another hostile enemy. Moses reminded them that “The LORD is the one who will go before you. He will be with you” (Deuteronomy 31:8). Just as He carried them to victory over the kings of the Amorites, God would be with them yet again. This was not the first time God had explicitly demonstrated His commitment to His people, and it would not be the last. 

Just think about the unlikely victories in battle that God provided for people like Joshua, David, and Hezekiah. Or the way God comforted, protected, and empowered people like Daniel and Esther. And don’t forget how the Holy Spirit equipped Jesus’s disciples to depend on the real presence of God throughout the remainder of their lives. 

And yet this stuff happened a very long time ago. Sure, God showed up in mighty ways for the legendary figures of ancient history. What if these stories are isolated incidents from a bygone era? What if God only used to be concerned enough with humanity to show up right in the middle of our affairs? If that were true, I’d have a hard time surrendering my entire existence to a God whose faithfulness was frozen in time within the pages of a dusty old tome we only talk about once a week. 

But what if the God that was immovably dedicated to Moses proposed the same level of interest in my little life here in the twenty-first century? What if the God who wrapped His arms around His people at the sound of the approaching Assyrian war machine is the same God who follows me to my elementary school office each morning here in Nashville? What if the same God who promised Jesus’s disciples that He would be with them “to the end of the age” is still breathing life into me as I face the difficult task of reassuring my own kids that no matter how scary the world gets, God is with them?

I love the Bible so much, in part, because God is the same on page one as He is in the closing phrases of Revelation. And if He was the same in the garden of Eden as He was on the cross and all the moments in between, then I have every reason to believe that He remains the same even today. 

No matter what we face in our  lives—or corporately as the bride of Christ in the present world—we must cling to the promise of God’s presence today as urgently as our predecessors did, for He has not changed one single bit.

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