I wonder how many times you have been let down by someone? There are many people who promise us that they will stand by us, no matter what comes our way. They say, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll be right behind you’. However, when trouble strikes, they desert us. In fact, many of them are so far behind that you can’t see them even with a telescope!
Proposition: Today, I would like to share about a God who never deserts us! He has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’ (Hebrews 13:5).
In dealing with this topic, here are 3 contexts in which this truth is proclaimed in the scriptures.
1) He will never desert us in the midst of changing circumstances
(Read Deuteronomy 31: 1-8)
Things around us keep changing at a rapid pace, sometimes too fast for us to adjust. In fact, some changes like unexpected viruses, getting old, developing health issues, children leaving home, maybe quite unexpectedly having to play the role of a single mom or dad and losing a job can be quite scary!
In Deuteronomy 31, the people of God were told of a huge change that was ahead of them. Moses, the man who had led them through ‘thick and thin’ for 40 years, makes a startling statement in vs 2. He says, ‘The Lord has said to me, you shall not cross the Jordan’. Just imagine the shock that went through the camp! He also says, ‘Joshua also will cross ahead of you…’, (vs 3). Here was their leader, talking about a change in leadership, at the crucial period of planning to enter the Promised Land. In fact, Moses also says in vs 2, that he was no longer able to lead them, being a 120 years old. It was obviously a scary time for the people of Israel who were used to seeing Moses in front of them. Sure, changing circumstances can be very trying!
Moses’ Assuring Words:
Moses assures the people however that although he will not go ahead of them, that ‘the Lord your God himself will cross over ahead of you’ (vs.3). In vs 6 he says, ‘the Lord your God goes before you, he will never leave you nor forsake you’ (repeated also in vs.8). What a promise! It was an assurance that God would not desert His people. He therefore tells the people to be strong and courageous (vs.6). In fact, he repeats this three times, in vs 6, 7 and 8. This gave strength to the people who were well used to seeing God go before them as a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire (Exodus 13:21). It is also no coincidence that in Joshua 1:5, once again, God tells Joshua, the new leader, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’.
Friend, what difficult changing circumstances are you going through right now? How are you responding to those changes? Has fear gripped your heart? Do you feel like God is not seeing your situation? Remember, ‘He will never leave you nor forsake you’. We have a God who never deserts us, specifically in the most difficult moments.
There is a story of a family whose house caught fire. As each parent tried to grab a few belongings and a child’s hand to get out of the house as quickly as possible, the little daughter who was holding the father’s hand, broke free from his grip and ran upstairs to get her teddy bear. However, when trying to come down again, she found that she was trapped by the enveloping flames.
The child therefore, ran to the upstair window and shouted for her father’s help. The father shouted back to her ‘jump down honey, I will catch you’. However, since she couldn’t see her father clearly through the smoke, the little girl cried, ‘I’m scared to jump daddy, I can’t see you’. Her father replied, ‘don’t worry honey, you just jump. I’m right under you and I will catch you. Although you can’t see me, I can see you’.
Our heavenly Father sees us at all times. He will never desert us!
2) God will never desert us when we are challenged by the needs of this world
(Read Hebrews 13:5)
What needs are gripping your life today? What needs are you praying about? The words of Hebrews 13:5 are based around the theme of contentment. It says, ‘be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you”. Speaking of contentment, a statement I came across recently says, ‘Relish what you have, rather than resent what you are missing’! This verse also warns us about ‘the love of money’.
If we learn to be content with what we have, God will surely step in to take care of our needs. He will not desert us. That’s why the next verse says, ‘the Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid’. Philippians 4:6 further adds, ‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God’. Didn’t the Lord Jesus Himself say, ‘Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well’ (Matthew 6:33).
Young people reading this, in these troubled times, are you anxious about your future, your career, your marriage? As you learn to be thankful for what you have and to put your trust in God, He will show you that His plan for your life will never fail. A famous phrase in the Bible says, ‘Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever’.
When I left my job as an Executive at the age of 29, to come into full-time ministry, many people tried to dissuade me from taking that decision. They felt that I would lose out. Thankfully, my parents didn’t object to my decision, but they too were worried as to how I would manage my daily affairs. However, as I learned to be content with what God gave me, He has provided everything I need.. I have therefore never regretted taking the decision to be in full-time ministry!
He has not deserted me and He will never desert me!!
3) God will never desert us when we are challenged to serve Him
(Read Matthew 28:20)
In Matthew 28:19, the Lord Jesus gave His disciples what is now called, the Great Commission. It was a call to serve Him. One can imagine the tension in the hearts of the disciples, who were now being asked to carry on the work of the Lord. These were the very disciples who had deserted Him! However, with this command, the Lord also gave a great promise to the disciples in Matthew 28:20. He said, ‘And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age’. In other words, the Lord was saying that He would never leave them.
Therefore, if God is calling you into some kind of ministry and you are wondering how you could ever fulfill His call, take heart from the promise of Jesus. You may feel that you lack ability, talent, skill, confidence or education. The Lord says to you ‘I am with you’. He will use you for His glory! He will not desert you.
Illustration: A young child who was blinded due to a medical misadventure (as the story goes) came to the realization that her Savior would always be with her. Others would have felt only sympathy for her. They would have wondered whether she would ever accomplish anything of value. She however, didn’t see her blindness as a handicap. As a result, as she decided to serve God with her talents, Fanny Crosby became one of the most prolific hymn writers of the faith. Isn’t it true that every time we sing her composition ‘Blessed Assurance’, besides many others, we are reminded about the faithfulness of our God.
Praise God, we have a God who never deserts us in difficult times! Today, proclaim that truth by faith!!