He is present with us

(James Smith, “Israel’s Need, and God’s Mercy” 1856)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

Life is but a journey–a journey from the present fleeting world, to the eternal world.

“By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light–so that they could travel by day or night.” Exodus 13:21

Israel needed a GUIDE in their journey from the wilderness to the promised land.
They had a long journey before them, which would take them forty years.
They had to travel by a strange path, on which they had never trodden before.
Numerous foes would endeavor to obstruct their progress.
Many dangers lined the way.
And they had evil and deceitful hearts!

Fellow-Christians, is it not even so with us? We are going on a journey to a country of which the Lord our God has told us.

The journey is long and trying. It takes some twenty, some forty, and some sixty years to travel from earth to Heaven.

It is a strange path. A path which no one knows, a path we have never trodden before. A path which by nature we could never find, and from which we are prone to turn aside.

We are surrounded by numerous foes, visible and invisible:

The WORLD frowning as a determined persecutor, or fawning as a base deceiver–it endeavors to turn us aside from the right ways of the Lord.

SATAN and his hosts, crafty, cunning, cruel, united, persevering and determined–set themselves to terrify and drive us back, or to allure us from the way.

And worst of all, in our own natures, we have a determined foe who is . . .
ever present,

Yes, the FLESH lusts against the Spirit. We find a law in our members warring against the law of our minds.The world, the flesh, and the devil all combine to . . .
oppose our progress,
hinder us in our march, and,
if possible, to destroy us in the wilderness.

Then, there are so many dangers:

the towering rocks of presumption,
quagmires of doubt and fear,
pitfalls of error,
ravines of willful sin,
fiery-flying serpents of temptation,
scorpions of indulged lust,
–all of them have dangers concealed in them! Nor can we be trusted alone for one moment, if we are to be safe. Worst of all, there are our distrustful and deceitful hearts!

With . . .
so long a journey,
strange a path,
numerous foes,
many dangers, and
unbelieving hearts,

can we ever reach the promised land?
Can we?

Not if left to ourselves!

We need a guide . . .He is present with us
whose wisdom is perfect,
power is almighty,
care is constant,
patience is immutable,
mercy endures forever!

God provided just what the Israelites needed in the wilderness–a guide to lead them by day and night. He went before them, pointing out the road, clearing it of insurmountable difficulties, and conducting them in it.

This is just what our good and gracious God does for us! He is really present with us. God is never far from any one of us and marks out our road. He conducts us step by step in the path to the promised land!

Naturally we do not know the right path. Left to ourselves, we would choose the short-cut, the smooth path, and well-frequented road. But He leads us in a zig-zag way, by a rough and uneven road–where there are but few fellow-travelers. His choice is best. The way He points out is the only right one. It is to humble us, test us, and show what is in our hearts that we may walk by faith and not by sight. Also to teach us our need of Himself, and to lead us to cleave unto Him. “For this God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even unto death,” through death, and beyond it!

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you shall go! I will guide you with My eye!” Psalm 32:8
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