By Dr. John Greever
Hebrews 13:5b “He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.”
The writer of Hebrews very likely drew from God’s promise to Joshua in the Old Testament where the Lord made the very same promise to Joshua as he took over the leadership of Israel when Moses died (Joshua 1:5). But this promise from God is not just for one or two of His choice people; rather, it is the glorious promise of the Lord God to each one of His people wherever we may be and whenever we may live in history. God promises to stick with us and by us, no matter what! The greatest gift that God can give to anyone is HIMSELF. He says to us as we trudge down the road of life facing come what may: “I am with you, I will not desert you, and I will not abandon you.” No matter how difficult the journey, I am with you, and I will not abandon you. No matter how weak we are, how sick we are, no matter how far astray we feel from God, God’s absolute promise (a promise cannot fail) is this: “I will not leave you, desert you, or abandon you; I am with you always.” This was also the precious promise of Jesus to His disciples as they would see to obey Him in making disciples (Matthew 28:20).
Does it matter who rises up against us if God is with us? If God is for us, does it matter who is against us (Romans 8:31)? Does it matter how hard the challenge might if God is with us? Does it matter if we are strained beyond the scope of our ability and faith if God is with us? If God is with us, we can climb over the walls that shut us out if we look to the Lord (Psalm 18:29; 2 Samuel 22:30).
In our Lord and through our Lord, we have the strength to march on. In our Lord and through our Lord, all that is needed will be provided in God’s way, in God’s time, for God’s work and for God’s glory.
But there is something else – something embedded in the promise that we must not miss. By giving us this promise, God is promising that He Himself will be with us. He will fellowship with us, He will tenderly draw near when we are lonely, and He will sweetly open our hearts to feel the pulse of His love for us that we might be strong and motivated to keep running the race set before us (Hebrews 12:1). God promises His child in this verse sweet communion with his Creator and Savior that satisfies the soul.
There simply is no greater promise in all the Bible than this – God promises to be with us and never abandon us. Sweet Christian friend, your sins will not take God from you, your weaknesses will not make you Savior leave, and your circumstances will not cast Him from you. As the Bible says in Romans 8:37-39 there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING that can take God’s love from us, nor take us from God’s Himself. Wherever God’s love is, there God Himself is in intimacy and sweetness. Rest in this promise and keep going!
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you SO MUCH for sticking with me. There are times I am so disgusted with myself that I wonder why You would stay with me, but You do. I can do nothing but worship You, thank You, and lean hard on You. For in so doing, I honor You. Amen.
John Greever is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Fenton, MO and is a former professor of Bible at Missouri Baptist University. He is a part of the leadership team for Founders Midwest and is a speaker at this year’s Founders Midwest Conference. If you would like more information about Founders Midwest and the annual conference, be sure to check out our Facebook page or visit our website for more information. To register for the conference click here.