"...the Lord was with him..." Genesis 39:3
As my wife and I enjoyed time with our daughters over the Christmas holidays, we also were able to hear about their victories, failures, disappointments, hopes, etc. At one point, I remember sharing with each daughter how their mother and I pray for them each day: to surround them with His presence, for in His presence is fullness of joy; to provide for their needs; to protect them by His hand. I told each of my daughters a statement my dear friend, Mark Cook, often shares with me: "The safest place to be is in the hands of God."
Though Joseph was betrayed by his own brothers, sold into slavery, betrayed once again by the wife of his owner, thrown into an Egyptian prison, forgotten by a fellow inmate he had encouraged when he interpreted a dream, he still exercised complete faith in God to write the story of his life - confident that God would redeem his situation. What incredible, persevering faith!
This simple precept of knowing and believing God walks with us through life is critically important to maintaining a balanced perspective on one's personal journey. The bible reinforces this precept time and again:
- "He that dwells in the secret place of the most high, shall abide under the shadow of the almighty." (Ps. 91:1) The shadow is God's favor. The shadow is God's protection. The shadow is God's presence in the midst of life's turmoil.
- Numbers 6:24-26 reflects a blessing for those who walk with God to experience: His protection, His favor, His peace, His grace (we experience saving grace, living grace, and one day His dying grace).
- In the great commission, Jesus promised His presence to the disciples - even in the farthest reaches of the earth, or even to the end of earth itself as we know it. With His presence came His power for sharing the good news. (Mt. 28:18-20)
- Paul encouraged the believers in Rome with the words: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him , who have been called according to His purpose." (Ro. 8:28) He was emphasizing the power of God to work through even difficult circumstances.
- Paul went on to say, that if God is, in fact, for us, then who can be against us? In other words, we will experience God's presence and provision for each and every circumstance we face.
There are so many more I could use, but I won't belabor the point. God loves His children, His people, His creation, His own... and He desires each of us to be overcomers - to not react in a situation, but to be proactive by prioritizing our time with Him in study of His Word and in prayer. However, please allow me to direct you to an excellent insight into this simple phrase by David Murray of Ligonier Ministries: http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/lord-was-him/. Mr. Murray provides seven insights into understanding how God was with His anointed. I enjoyed his perspective on the subject and hope you will invest the time to read it - it's well worth it!
In today's world, it's not easy... we are so easily distracted with television, tweets, teasers, and temptation of every kind. We must first come apart from the world so the world doesn't tear us apart.
May you know God's presence in your life this year, and with His presence may you experience full joy, wisdom, discernment, and peace.
He must increase, I must decrease.