Summary: This sermon is meant to reiterate that our God will never leave or forsake us.
A GOD WHO NEVER DESERTS US
INTRODUCTION – 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, 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’ (Heb 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 - (Deut 31: 1-8)
Things around us keep changing at a rapid pace, sometimes too fast for us to adjust. In fact, some changes like 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 & 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!
However, Moses assures them 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! 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 (Ex 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.
Illustration : 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. She 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 (Heb 13:5)
What needs are gripping your life today? What needs are you praying about? The words of Heb 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. That’s why the next verse says, ‘the Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid’. Phil 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’ (Mt 6:33).