Let's look at the five ways God is with us:
(1) When you are afraid. Be not afraid of the king of Babylon, of whom ye are afraid; be not afraid of him, saith the LORD: for I am with you to save you, and to deliver you from his hand. (Jer 42:11) We all have our giants in life: whether they be actual people, physical trials, life problems, etc. God loves us so much that He recognizes our emotions. He knows we will have fears and His desire is to comfort us. I can almost see God putting His arm around Jeremiah and saying, "Don't be afraid, Jeremiah! I'm right here!"
(2) To stir our spirit. Then spake Haggai the LORD'S messenger in the LORD'S message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the LORD. (Hag 1:13) Have you ever found yourself dreading a certain task because it seemed overwhelming? This was the case with the people in this chapter. And the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work in the house of the LORD of hosts, their God, (Hag 1:14) God knew they needed to be encouraged so he stirred their spirit. He has done that for me as well. No task is too great that God calls us to do, my friend. With the task, He provides us with the abilities and the tools. God is not cruel and will never call you to do something and leave you empty handed. He knew that we would feel this way so He included a verse to show us that when we are overwhelmed, He is with us and will stir our spirit within us and encourage us as we complete our task.
(3) To encourage us when we don't quite understand. Hag 2:2-4, Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and to the residue of the people, saying, (2) Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing? (3) Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the LORD; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the LORD, and work: for I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts: (4) Some of the people had seen the first temple built by Solomon and remembered its glory. However, this temple was not anything in comparison to the first. God assures them that it is not the building that is important but His presence. How many times have you been in a situation in life that you don't quite understand how God can possibly use it to His glory? I know I have been there many times and will be sure to go through many more. But our compassionate and blessed Heavenly Father loves us so much that He reassures us that He is with us during these times as well. He knows that we will be seeing the circumstances around us and be disheartened. So He encourages us to remember that His presence is ever with us and the circumstances will reveal His glory in end. What a loving God we serve!
(4) To show us that we have nothing to fear when we are doing His work. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Mat 28:20) Oh my, what a blessing! Not only do we have God's Spirit with us, but He has left us His Word to comfort us. These people did not have the Word in their homes yet, as we do. The comfort and encouragement found within the blessed pages of my Bible cannot compare to what man can provide. Jesus knew that His disciples needed to be assured that He would be with them - not only for a period of time but even until the end of the world! God is not a man that He should lie. He keeps His word.
What a comfort to know that while we are out trying to win lost souls to Christ, that He is right there with us. This means that nothing can happen to us unless He has allowed it. I think of the analogy I heard about how God walks beside us. As a father walked along side his daughter, she stumbled on a rock and fell down an embankment, scraping her legs and arms. He ran to her and picked her up, carried her home, soothed her tears and cleaned her scrapes. Although he was right there beside her, he could not prevent the mishap. However, because he was right there, he was able to pick her up and care for her. It is the same with our precious Heavenly Father, my friend. He is right here with us. He is walking along side of us while we are on this path in life. We, too, will stumble and hurt ourselves during our trials and tribulations. But that does not mean that He was not there. What it does mean is that He is there to pick us up and heal our hurts. We have all heard Christians say, "Why did God do this to me?" God did not do anything. He allows us to go through trials so that we may see Him in action as He works in our lives to heal us and mold us into His image.
(5) To give us a promise that one day we will be able to be where He is. Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you. (Joh 13:33) Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards. (Joh 13:36) It's no coincidence that the fifth verse shows God's grace - a promise that we will be going to be with Jesus in the place that He has prepared for us! What encouragement that is to the believer!
Emmanuel (also spelled Immanuel), means "God with us." As I completed the five points, I thought how appropriate that this is one of the names of God. This name for God appears three times the Word:
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isa 7:14)
And he shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over, he shall reach even to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel. (Isa 8:8)
Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. (Mat 1:23)
Three Immanuels/Emmanuel (three standing for Trinity) and five verses with "I am with you" (standing for grace)! Our Three-in-One, our Emmanuel, is with us "even unto the end of the world"!
Ever watchful, ever mindful
Always by my side
As you keep me in Your care
Daily grace provide
Devotional by Kate Plourde
60 Day Devotional Series: Numbers In The Bible