We are now going to Bethel, where I will build an altar to the God who answered my prayers when I was in distress. He has been with me wherever I have gone. – Genesis 35:3
A Canaanite prince, Shechem, raped Dinah the daughter of Jacob. He supposedly then fell in love with her and tried to get Jacob to let him marry her, but her brother killed all the men of his town and ransacked it and took bounty for themselves. Then shortly thereafter, God told Jacob to pack up his things and move his family to the place called Bethel, where God had met Jacob once before. In preparation for the trip, Jacob told his family to rid themselves of their idols, which he buried there where they were then residing. He announced to his family that they were moving to Bethel, and he would build an altar there to God who had answered his prayers and had been with Jacob wherever he’d gone.
How many times do we hear the verse quoted, I will never leave you nor forsake you? Most of us, I dare say, would reply that we hear it quite often, but how many of us actually believe that statement? It is one thing to know what the Word of God says, yet it is another to believe it! I have questioned many times in life whether God actually stood beside me. The situation around me made it seem like God was nowhere to be found, and I am not alone. Many times David asked God where he was in the psalms, and he always found his answer in the solace that comes from God’s presence, even in the darkest of hours.
Do you question in yourself, or directly to God, if he’s really there? If so, I recommend that you take a hard, long look at your life and search out why you have come to that conclusion. The Truth is that God is there, he’s everywhere. Because of his omnipresence, it is impossible for God NOT to be there! As David wrote, whether he made his bed in hell or in heaven, God was there. Therefore, from that perspective alone do you see that God cannot leave you? However, God wants us to know on a more personal level that He will be there with us through every event in life – the good and the bad. Once we are his children, we are engraved in the palm of his hand. There is nothing in this life that can separate us from the love of God.
Therefore, I determine in my heart, today, to never let myself question God’s loyalty to me. He desires me more than I desire him. He sought me out, not the other way around. It is because of his love for me that I can rest assured that my Father will be with me through the fire and the high water. He will be with me through the calm. He leads me beside still waters. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He prepares a table for me in the presence of my enemies. He anoints my head with oil. He rejoices over me. He sings over me. He raises his banner of love over me. Moreover, each of us are the temple of the Holy Spirit, which makes us mobile arks of the new covenant. Within us written upon our hearts is God’s law of love, the new commandment and not the Mosaic Law. Within us is the bread of life through the broken body of Jesus that was slaughtered on the cross, not the manna from the desert. Thus, wherever I go, God goes with me.
Father, thank you for loving me. I am nothing without you, and I have doubted at times whether or not you were still with me. How foolish of me to think that the God of the universe, who gave his only Son to die for me and erase my spiritually criminal past, would ever give up on me and not be with me?!? You are everywhere, and you are there with me all the time. Help us to realize that the dark and lonely places are merely deceptions and mirages designed to distract us and take our focus off of you in order to get us to doubt you and not trust in you. You are my only hope and salvation. Please bring peace to my spirit and allow me to know your glorious presence, where love abounds! In Jesus’ name, Amen.