When God Is With Us
In our prayers, I am constantly hearing the expression, “Be with this one,” and “Be with that one.” Just what is meant by the expression? That question was addressed to this writer thirty years ago. He would like to think that the answer given in this article will be more enlightening than the feeble answer given back then.
A consideration of the occasions when God said, “I will be with you,” should help in providing an answer.
To Moses — When Moses asked, “Who am I that I should go up to Pharaoh?” God replied, “I will certainly be with you” (Exodus 3:12).
To Joshua — “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you” (Joshua 1:5). God further assured Joshua that the crossing of the Jordan on dry ground would show the people that “as I was with Moses, so I will be with you” (Joshua 3:7).
To Gideon — “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor” (Judges 6:12).
To David — Saul said to David as he was leaving to face Goliath: “Go, and the Lord be with you” (1 Samuel 17:37). Two giants faced one another that day: one, a physical giant; the other, a spiritual giant. The difference in the battle was in the fact that God was with the spiritual giant and was not with the physical giant.
To Jeremiah — “Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you” (Jeremiah 1:8).
Obviously, the expression, “I will be with you,” is assurance of success in whatever God wants to accomplish through that person whom He is with.
Present Day Application — How can a man and his wife leave family and friends to go into some foreign field to preach the gospel? How can they go where custom and language are different and where living standards are far below what they have been accustomed to all their lives? The answer: “And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).
How can a Christian face death in peace, with confidence as he passes from this life into the realms that are beyond? The answer: “Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me” (Psalm 23:4).
“Be with me, Lord, no other gift or blessing,
Thou couldst bestow could with this one compare;
A constant sense of Thy abiding presence,
Wher-e’er I am to feel that Thou art near”
When God Is Not With Us — If success is assured when God is with us, failure results when God is not with us. After the Israelites in their lack of faith refused to enter the promised land (Numbers 14:1-4), some had a change of heart and decided to go up after all. Moses warned them that they would not succeed, but would fall by the sword.
“Because you have turned away from the Lord, the Lord will not be with you” (Numbers 14:43). Their efforts indeed failed. One may appear to succeed for a while when the Lord is not with him, but eventually he will fail.
Conditions To Be Met — What must be true of one if God is to be with him? The answer is found in God’s statement to Jeroboam after promising him ten of the twelve tribes: “Then it shall be, if you heed all that I command you, walk in My ways, and do what is right in My sight, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as My servant David did, then I will be with you and build for you an enduring house” (1 Kings 11:38). Unfortunately, Jeroboam chose to follow his own ways rather than God’s, and consequently his name ranks among the infamous.
When my loved ones are sick, or I am facing surgery, or am leaving for gospel meetings, or am in distress in any way, I want the prayers of that person whom God is with. I do not care about his race, gender, or station in life. If God is with him, he is the one whose prayers will avail. That person is the richest of all persons. Let each ask himself, “Am I that person?” “Go, and the Lord be with you.”