(March 11, 2022) Brian Bell shares a great encouragement  …

We’re already halfway through the third month of 2022!

Despite the general unrest and uncertainty which still prevails across the world, I believe the encouragement from God’s word is to keep standing on His promises.

Let me draw you back to the words God spoke to Moses in Exodus 33:14 – ‘My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.’

Now I am sure we would not be envious of the task God asked Moses to carry out. To go back to his place of failure in Egypt, face Pharaoh and bring God’s people out of captivity! It was because God knew the enormity and difficulty of the task that He spoke this promise to Moses.

I have three little thoughts of encouragement to suggest. God’s word is –

A Personal Promise My presence’
(i) Personal in its source
In Romans chapter 1, the apostle Paul lists the many ways in which sin has impacted on humanity and included in the list, he uses this phrase ‘break their promises.’

Sadly, as men we are inclined to be promise breakers.

However, the words from Exodus spoken to Moses are not some empty, breakable promise by some man, but by Almighty God, the One who has never broken a promise.

(ii) Personal in its recipient
Taken in context the promise was given directly to Moses who had become aware of his weakness and failing and had spent 40 years in a palace, then 40 years in a wilderness – this helps set the contrasts of his life.

Perhaps like me, you know something of the contrasts of life; those times when…

  • Your strength gave way to poorer health.
  • You find you no longer have the physical stamina which possibly you once took for granted.
  • Your enthusiasm for life or even spiritual vitality seems not so sharp.

Moses needed to hear a personal promise – could it be that is where you are today?

One way we know a person is living is because they are able to speak. Here’s good news – God is still speaking today through His word, and He can be the source of a personal promise to you.

A Practical Promise – ‘go with you’
Do you ever remember when as a child, there was the prospect of you going alone somewhere new… or being left alone somewhere or in some uncertain situation?

You would think that as we get older we would become more self-sufficient… and in a sense we do. However, it is never a sign of weakness at whatever age or stage of life to want someone to go with us!

In Exodus God’s presence was made visible to the Israelites in a pillar of cloud by day and fire by  night. His presence was also shown through the Ark of the Covenant.

In context of verse 14 above, Moses needed a practical promise and so God said He would go with him.

For those who love the Lord today His presence goes with us… through the Holy Spirit.

It is the Spirit who shows God is with us as we read His word, or to reflect on past situations of life in which He indeed proved He was with us.

Think of a time when a verse of scripture spoke to you… or God put someone in your life just when you needed them, and you have known the outworking of God’s practical promise to go with you. Doing so will encourage you yet again!

A Providing Promise – ‘give you rest’
In our culture when we talk about ‘rest’ we usually think about sitting down or lessening our activity – in Northern Ireland we might say ‘have a wee doze’ – taking things easy – but that is not the meaning here.

In the NLT this verse is rendered ‘I will give you rest; everything will be fine for you.’

I believe the lesson here is that God was giving Moses reassurance. But note: This was not a promise to do with a lack of action on the part of Moses or the absence of difficulties in his life – God knew what lay ahead for his servant.

I am sure you know what it is like to face a difficult situation in life, maybe you felt you just couldn’t cope; perhaps you feel you have not lived as faithfully for the Lord as you could have done – how can everything be fine for you?

Praise the Lord our salvation and that all its benefits such as forgiveness, justification and sanctification are not earned by my self-effort or works! They come by grace, through faith and are merited through the atonement which the Lord Jesus has made (which we celebrate next month Easter weekend!).

Every day the Lord Jesus remains faithful – we His followers may not always ‘perform’ or ‘behave’ as we should – but we have a providing promise – He is our mediator, always making intercession for us, He picks us up if we stumble and rejoices with us in our victories.

Let’s recall the words of that popular old Russell Kelso Carter hymn… ‘Standing, standing. Standing on the promises of God, my Saviour.’

Here in the UK, we have thankfully seen more of a return to life with less restrictions while as a nation, we are not without our social and economic problems… particularly when we consider the recent conflict in Ukraine and the impact beyond its borders.

But may we all, wherever we live, keep standing on the promises of God, knowing He is with us each new day and that while the actions or decisions of men (humans!) in authority may impact on our lives, we can rest in a God whose promises are personal, practical and provide reassurance for His children.

Brian Bell is a diaconate member, Christ Church (Congregational) Abbots Cross, Northern Ireland, and a volunteer with Disabled Christians Fellowship Ireland. He describes himself as ‘grateful for the privilege and opportunity given me to serve my Lord.’

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