Snapshots: Day 114
The Snapshot: “the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deut 31:6) It applied to Israel and it applies to us (see Heb 13:5) That is good news and bad. It is good news if our heart is turned to God and we want His help. It is bad news if we rebel against Him and thus become vulnerable to His discipline. The Lord’s intent is always to bless His children but when they are being wayward, as a loving Father He disciplines them (Heb 12:6). His hand is always held out to impart blessing but when we turn our backs on Him, He knows the only way to get our attention is to do something – often allowing us to do our own thing in our bad state – that will go wrong, pull us up and remind us that blessings go with obedience.
Further Consideration: The mix of promises, exhortations and explanations that come from the Lord through Moses on the Plains of Moab before they enter the Promised Land bring warnings on one hand, as we saw in the previous study and we will see in the next, but also encouragements as we now see in our present verse. We dealt with the discipline issue in the previous study so let’s see the other side of the coin now.
In his various psalms, David referred to the good side of knowing the Lord and referred to Him in a whole variety of ways, for example: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Psa 18:2) The Message version spells it out even more graphically: “God is bedrock under my feet, the castle in which I live, my rescuing knight. My God—the high crag where I run for dear life, hiding behind the boulders, safe in the granite hideout.” What a picture that conveys of a sense of security.
But back to our starter verse: “the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” That means He sees me, shares in what I am doing, is there to chat with me, share His heart with me, listen to me as I share my wonderings, worries, questions and so on. Is this how we see our God or have oppressive preachers (like the crusading atheists!) left us with fearful pictures of a harsh God ready to smack us down at every opportunity? I sat in a group yesterday and led them in a time thinking about our vulnerabilities, our common humanity. I shared that my own often involved physical infirmity and when we each shared honestly how we handled it, I shared that I got angry with God (which I think shocked some), but I went on to explain how the Lord so often deals with us like little children having their tantrums, leaving us to let out all the steam until we come to our senses, repent and then receive His love. Is that the God (in Jesus) you know?