Old Testament Quotations in the New Testament, Part 51

“Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,’ ” Hebrews 13:5 (NAS)

The fact that the Lord will never desert nor forsake His faithful ones is a great confidence builder. 

And that brethren, is the key-being faithful. It is to those that this particular promise is made by our Lord. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews is continuing to build their confidence and their faith picture by calling to mind this principle found in the Old Testament. Three times the statement above is recorded as the second generation of Israelites approached to take the land of Canaan after wandering in the desert for forty years. Twice Moses exhorted the people that the LORD would “not fail you or forsake you” as recorded in the thirty-first chapter of Deuteronomy, verses six “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you”; and eight: “And the LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear, or be dismayed.” The other occasion is recorded in Joshua 1:5, “No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.” There are other allusions to this principle concerning the LORD not forsaking His people (Gen. 28:15; 1 Chron. 28:20; Psa. 37:25, 28; Isa. 41:17 to name a few) in the Old Testament. The record of the LORD’s dealing with the Israelites through power (deliverance from and destruction of their slave masters), provision (plundering of the nation of Egypt, manna, quail, clothing, and water), and protection by means of His presence was easily evoked by Moses in his final address to the second generation of the nation. Not only had the LORD gone before them and traveled with them, He also had been their rear guard at the edge of the Red Sea standing between them and the Egyptian army as the Red Sea was being parted. Now at the edge of the land populated with fortified cities and strong adversaries where the previous generation had faltered in their unbelief (save Joshua and Caleb), the people and her leadership are comforted in the knowledge that the LORD will not fail nor forsake them, but once more go before them and insure their victory. Through the message of who Jesus is as contained in the New Testament, our confidence and faith is strengthened. He needed to appear in the flesh, to have been present among us, in order to develop in us a strong belief and assurance in Him, having undergone what we experience. Much like the Father, He exhibited His power over the natural elements by stilling storms and raising the dead; and His power over the spiritual realm by casting out demons. He provided food (feeding of the five thousand and the four thousand) and drink (water into wine at Cana) by miracle. In His resurrection from the dead He effectively communicated His ability to protect them (and us) from even the fear of the sting of death by reappearing among men after His crucifixion and burial. The images conjured up of the LORD’s presence in the ancient past among the Israelites in the cloud and pillar of fire, along with the knowledge of God revealed in the flesh in Christ Jesus, were critical to the Hebrew Christian converts as the LORD was moving the thoughts of His people out of the land of the physical and into the spiritual. This trek of faith from the physical to the spiritual has been traveled by the Son of Man, He has gone there before us. He understood the travails, temptations, and persecutions of this world, yet did not falter because He knew who He was and He knew he was not alone. The presence of the Father via the Spirit was with Him! He pressed on in the upward call through the cross back to the throne in Heaven.  That is the same push the Hebrew letter and the New Testament conveys to us. The promise by Jesus of the Father and the Son to return to abide in those who love Him and keep His word (John 14:23) is fulfilled by the presence of the Spirit, there to lead us and as the Comforter, called alongside to help. Brethren, don’t fear or tremble, be strong and courageous, for the LORD your God goes with you, He will not forsake you! Remember, the Holy Spirit in us is the Lord’s “pledge of our inheritance with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession” (Eph 1:14) Amen!


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