Tag Archive | Presence

He Examines All Your Paths

“For your ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all your paths.” (Proverbs 5:21 NIV)

There is no place you can go, no path you can take, where God cannot see. This ought to serve as both a warning and an encouragement. Throughout my day, God sees me. Even more convicting, God is with me.

Yet if this were the only knowledge of God I had, I suppose it would mean little. If I didn’t know His holiness, the fact that He sees my sin would not terrify me. If I didn’t know His love, the fact that He sees my trouble would be of no comfort. But in all things He is perfect, He is present, He is near, He is approachable.

May we daily live in the knowledge that He is ever faithful to examine all our paths.

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The Most High God Dwells with the Lowly

Isaiah 57:15

“For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite'”

A contrite and lowly spirit

A common misconception about God is that our feelings directly correlate to the strength of our relationship or standing with Him. Fortunately, our feelings really do not affect His love for us nor do they change our place in His heart.

In fact, our feelings may completely deceive us into thinking the exact opposite of God’s true position. It is not when we are feeling a spiritual high, but when we are the lowest, the most contrite, in the most turmoil, the most disquieted that God confirms His unshakable presence. I don’t mean to say His proximity to us ever really changes—but our feelings do. And we can be confident even when we walk in the valley of the shadow of death, He is with us all the more.

  • Psalms 51:17; The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise
  • Isaiah 66:1-2; Thus says the LORD: ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest? All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the LORD. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.

To revive the heart

Though contrition confirms God’s presence, it never comes to the Christian without the reciprocation of God’s comfort. His company is not for the sake of rubbing our nose in the guilt, but for strengthening our feeble knees, lifting us up from the pit, helping us regain our footing, reviving our heart.

  • Psalms 147:3; He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
  • Psalms 30:2-3; O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me. O LORD, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.

When you find yourself wrestling with guilt, feeling far away from God, know that He is near. He is with you to help you, to comfort you, and revive you. Call on him.

I Am Your God; I Will Strengthen You, I Will Help You

Isaiah 41:10

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

In Psalm 124, David said, “If it had not been the LORD who was on our side–let Israel now say–if it had not been the LORD who was on our side when people rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us up alive;” Psalms 124:1-3. If the Lord was not with us, we would have every reason to sink with dismay; we would have every reason to be disquieted, to be disheartened, to feel dejected, to lose our courage. Without God, we would be swallowed alive.

  • Psalms 40:11-13; “As for you, O LORD, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me! For evils have encompassed me beyond number; my iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart fails me. Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me! O LORD, make haste to help me!”

He is a very present help in trouble. We can run to Him and be safe. We may approach His throne of grace freely and with boldness in our time of need. He is with us to strengthen us, to help us, to uphold us with His righteous right hand.

  • Psalms 56:1-4; “Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me; all day long an attacker oppresses me; my enemies trample on me all day long, for many attack me proudly. When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?”
  • Psalms 56:10-13; “In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me? I must perform my vows to you, O God; I will render thank offerings to you. For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.”
  • Psalms 27:1-5; “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple. For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.”

In Jesus Christ we have assurance of God’s perpetual presence. We have the covenant sealed in His blood: the forgiveness of sins, life everlasting. We stand justified–innocent, righteous–before Him and completely sure that He will never abandon us. He who did not withhold His only Son to purchase our redemption–He who did not withhold His only Son in order to reconcile us to Himself–how shall He glibly forsake the sheep of His fold? We know God is for us; so then, who can be against us?

  • Romans 8:31-39; “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died–more than that, who was raised–who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Fear not, He is with us. He is our God. He will strengthen us. He will help us. He will uphold us.

Looking to What is Unseen

Joshua 19:51

“These are the inheritances that Eleazar the priest and Joshua the son of Nun and the heads of the fathers’ houses of the tribes of the people of Israel distributed by lot at Shiloh before the LORD, at the entrance of the tent of meeting. So they finished dividing the land.”

They finished dividing the land

Hundreds of years have passed since God made His promises to Abraham. We get the privilege of reading this testimony of God’s faithfulness as it unfolds. Too bad Abraham didn’t get to read what we are reading! Having the promise of an inheritance in Canaan and of an offspring as numerous as the dust of the earth, he believed God without receiving the outcome. He “died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar;” Hebrews 11:13.

  • Romans 4:18-21 “In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, ‘So shall your offspring be.’ He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.”

Abraham looked forward to that which was unseen. His faith, we’re told, was reckoned to His account as righteousness. The Lord considered Abraham to be a righteous man because he took God at His word and trusted Him as able to do that which He promised.

We have received promises like Abraham did. With some of the promises we even have their fulfillments written down for us in the book of Revelation. Having witnessed the Lord’s faithfulness to Abraham, and having every reason to believe He is both faithful and able to carry out His promises to us, let us also grow strong in faith.

We have the promise of Jesus’ continual guidance and presence on this earth
  • Hebrews 13:5-6 “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?'”
  • Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
  • Psalms 48:14 “This is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever.”
  • Matthew 28:20b “Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
We have the promise of Jesus’ return
  • John 14:3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”
We have the promise of Jesus’ kingdom
  • Luke 12:32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
  • Hebrews 12:28 “Let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.”
  • James 2:5 “Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?”
  • 1Peter 1:3-5 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
We have the promise of being brought into Jesus’ presence for all eternity
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.”
  • Revelation 21:3-5 “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’ And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.'”
  • Revelation 21:22-23 “And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.”
  • Revelation 22:3-6 “No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. And he said to me, ‘These words are trustworthy and true.'”

I have only mentioned a fraction of His promises and a fraction of the verses concerning the fraction of promises I mentioned! How overwhelming does the Lord need to convince us before we believe in Him wholeheartedly?

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:24 “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”

The Lord’s Presence, the Lord’s Work, the Lord’s Light

Genesis 39:2-4

“The LORD was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master. His master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD caused all that he did to succeed in his hands. So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had.”

The LORD was with Joseph

The Christian’s greatest joy is knowing that his God is with Him. What other god would humble himself to seek the companionship of his servant? What other god would co-labor with those whom he sent to do his work? The Lord alone is God, there is none besides Him, and He has given us overwhelming promises of His perpetual presence.

  • Hebrews 13:5 “He has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.'”
  • Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
  • Psalms 37:28 “The LORD loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever.”
  • Genesis 28:15 “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go…. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

His master saw that the LORD was with Him

God’s presence among His saints is visible to those who are near to them. God is with us, we radiate Him, He is revealed through us as we co-labor with Him.

  • Titus 2:9-10 “Slaves are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.”
  • Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
  • Philippians 2:13-15 “It is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.”
  • 2 Corinthians 4:5-6 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

We, even more so than Joseph, can be confident of the Lord’s presence. We have His Word with us always, both Living and written. Let us then rejoice in our relationship with God through Christ–that we have been reconciled to God through Christ’s blood so as to never be separated from Him. Having His presence with us always, let us adorn His doctrine and shine His light so that He can be seen, recognized, and received by those who do not yet know Him.

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