The prospect of being forsaken is simply unthinkable. Just the sound of the word seems horrible. The Lord, however, promises to never forsake us which should give us boldness to face whatever the world sends our way.
Deuteronomy 31:6 (ESV) — 6 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
These are the words that God spoke through Moses as the children of Israel were preparing to enter the land of promise. Just after this, the exact same promise was given to the new leader, Joshua.
Deuteronomy 31:7–8 (ESV) — 7 Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land that the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall put them in possession of it. 8 It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
These are not merely space-filling promises. This is the God of heaven and earth promising to be with His people and He will not forsake them. Is His promise good? It’s as good as His name. And by the way, it’s based upon the fact that whatever God purposes, He follows through to the end. It’s also based upon the fact that it’s impossible for God to lie.
Isaiah 46:9–11 (ESV) — 9 remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ 11 calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it.
Hebrews 6:17–19 (ESV) — 17 So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. 19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,
Consider what God had spoken to Jacob many years before the scene in Deuteronomy.
Genesis 28:15 (ESV) — 15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
Also consider the words that God spoke directly to Joshua as the conquest of the land began:
Joshua 1:5 (ESV) — 5 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.
David passed the same promise on to his son, Solomon, as an encouragement in the massive job ahead of him in building the temple of God.
1 Chronicles 28:20 (ESV) — 20 Then David said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the Lord God, even my God, is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished.
Sometimes God gives us comparisons to appreciate His faithfulness in promising to never forsake us.
Psalm 27:10 (ESV) — 10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in.
Isaiah 41:17 (ESV) — 17 When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the Lord will answer them; I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
Do you get the feeling that you can count on God to never turn His back on you and forsake you? What boldness can be yours as you press on through life knowing that God has promised to never leave you or forsake you! And there’s a scripture that says just that.
Hebrews 13:5–6 (ESV) — 5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
That question is like the one asked in Romans 8:31:
Romans 8:31 (ESV) — 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
The reason we rejoice at these questions is based upon the faithfulness of God demonstrated in Romans 8:28-30.
Romans 8:28–30 (ESV) — 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Just to seal it further, the apostle Paul goes on in Romans 8 to present the impossibility of God turning His back upon His people.
Romans 8:32–39 (ESV) — 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you are in good shape and shall never be forsaken, and it’s Jesus who said so.
John 10:27–30 (ESV) — 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
Never forsaken! It’s good encouragement to hold on to and to help us persevere in serving a God who has made such a great promise.
Bob Brubaker, Pastor
Christ Community Presbyterian Church – Clearwater, FL