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,” so that we confidently say, “THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID. WHAT SHALL MAN DO TO ME?” Hebrews 13:5-6 (NAS)
Today, we consider the next to last Old Testament quote found in the book of Hebrews. The quote is found in three places in whole or part in the Old Testament. In Deuteronomy 31:6 and 8, and again in Joshua 1:5. The statement is also alluded to in several other Old Testament passages as well. For now, we’ll cite Deuteronomy 31:6 and let you, the reader, consider the other two. “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.”
Power, Provision, and Protection by His Presence Foreshadowed
Moses’ last exhortation to the second generation out of Egypt was designed to encourage them as they stood at the entrance to the Promised Land, readied to take it as their possession. His closing message as God’s prophet was laden with warnings, but more so, was designed to instill confidence in the task that lay before them through the presence of the LORD among them.
The recounting of events demonstrated the LORD’s power in redeeming them and freeing them from slavery from the ancient world power of Egypt. His provision, in supplying manna, water, and clothing that never wore out. His protection was evidenced multiple times, from dividing the Red Sea securing their safe passage as they crossed, Himself stationed as their rear guard situated between them and the Egyptians; then utilizing the waters of the parted Red Sea to crash down upon and destroy the Egyptian army. He continued to deliver them from the nations who sought to strike them (Amelakites) or curse them (Balak and Balaam) as they wandered the wilderness enroute to the land of Canaan. Even in their foibles and failures, He did not desert them or forsake them.
Moses had told Israel that the land was populated with seven nations mightier than they (Deut. 7:1). Fortified cities and strong adversaries awaited them. How were they going to dispossess them from the land? Were they too going to falter in the mission before them like the previous generation in their unbelief had? NO!! The LORD was going to be with them as He led them into the land, assuring them of victory – if they participated and did their part (C. f. Deut. 7:2-5) “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.” (Deut. 31:8)
Fear was the great immobilizer and the LORD’s presence is what neutralized it. In the company of God, confident Israel secured her promised inheritance of the land sworn to their forefathers.
The Promise of Christ, and Christ in you
The promise of the coming of the Christ, the Messiah to walk among the people, is what gave the nation Israel hope in light of God’s judgment upon Israel and the resulting Babylonian captivity. With the coming of Jesus Christ and His fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies as recorded in the gospels and New Testament letters, the promise of the Messiah was realized. He needed to appear in the flesh among the people, demonstrating like the Father, His power and His ability to provide and protect so that we would have faith and full assurance that He would deliver on His promises.
Power. Like the Father, Jesus exhibited His power over the natural elements by stilling storms, raising the dead, healing the sick, and over the spiritual realm by casting out demons. The lesson – Jesus is in control!
Provision. Jesus provided food in the miraculous feeding of the 5000 (Matt. 14:16-21) and the 4000 (Matt. 15:32-38), as well as drink (turning water into wine at Cana). He will provide what we need!
Protection. The single greatest example of Jesus’ ability to protect is in His resurrection from the grave and appearance once more among the people. Supplemented by eyewitness accounts, thereby delivering the faithful from the fear of the sting of death. In His ascension to the throne in heaven, we are confident in knowing the King Of Kings now rules on behalf of His church!
From Christ on earth to Christ in you. The trek of faith from the physical to the spiritual has been travelled by the Son of man. This was part of God’s eternal plan for our benefit. Jesus did not falter because He knew who He was according to the word of God. His actions demonstrated His faith and the knowledge He was always in the Father’s presence (John 8:28-29). Because He knew who He was and really where He was, He didn’t falter in the face of travail, temptation persecution, or the cross. He pressed on in the upward call through the cross and back home to the throne in heaven. Once there, Jesus fulfilled a key promise that Father and Son would return to dwell in those who loved Him and keep His word (John 14:23) through the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit, Christ in you. The Spirit is the provision that gives us power to walk like Jesus without fear or trembling, to be strong and courageous knowing we are protected by the presence of the fullness of God within, Who goes with us wherever we may be. Therein, brethren, is the pull of the Hebrew letter and the New Testament as a whole, to comprehend the power, provision and protection of the spiritual blessings where we’ve been seated by faith which molds our character accordingly. Amen.