Day 218

God is With You

Wisdom Psalm 91:9-16
New Testament 1 Corinthians 2:6-16
Old Testament 1 Chronicles 22:2-23:32

Introduction

I wonder whether you have ever had this experience: you are talking to a friend about your faith and they are looking back at you with a blank stare. They have no idea what you are talking about. When you talk about a relationship with Jesus, to them it is like you are speaking about an ‘imaginary friend’. It makes no sense to them at all.

The apostle Paul makes the point that you can only understand spiritual truths with the help of the Holy Spirit. The person ‘without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned’ (1 Corinthians 2:14). When God is with us by his Holy Spirit he gives us understanding, ‘that we may understand what God has freely given us’ (v.12).

‘God with us’ (Immanuel) is one of the titles the New Testament uses for Jesus (Matthew 1:23). He is always with you. That the God who created the universe should be with you is not something to be taken lightly. It is an extraordinary and wonderful promise. To experience God with you by his Spirit is life changing.

Wisdom

Psalm 91:9-16

9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
 and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
 no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
 to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
 so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
 you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
 I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
 I will be with him in trouble,
 I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
 and show him my salvation. ”

Commentary

With you in trouble

In the difficult times, ‘in trouble’ (v.15), you may sometimes feel that God has left you. In these times listen to God’s promises over and above your feelings and emotions.

This psalm is all about God’s protection and encourages you not to be afraid:

‘If you make the Most High your dwelling –
|even the Lord, who is my refuge –
then no harm will befall you,
|no disaster will come near your tent’ (vv.9-10).

This might appear to be the recipe for a trouble-free life. However, the psalmist goes on:

‘“Because you love me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue you;
|I will protect you, for you acknowledge my name.
You will call upon me, and I will answer you;
|I will be with you in trouble”’ (vv.14–15).

It is clear from this that those who love the Lord will not avoid trouble. God does not promise a trouble-free life. Rather, he promises that he will rescue you, protect you and answer your prayers. More than that he promises, ‘I will be with you’ in trouble. This is what makes all the difference. Even in the darkest times, he is with you. You are never alone.

Prayer

Thank you, Lord, that you are with me in times of trouble. Thank you for your rescue, deliverance, protection and answers to my prayers.

Lord, today I call upon you again…

New Testament

1 Corinthians 2:6-16

God’s Wisdom Revealed by the Spirit

6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 However, as it is written:

  “What no eye has seen,
   what no ear has heard,
  and what no human mind has conceived”—
   the things God has prepared for those who love him—

10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for,

  “Who has known the mind of the Lord
   so as to instruct him?”

But we have the mind of Christ.

Commentary

With you by his Spirit

Through the Holy Spirit, God is with you in the most extraordinary way – he is actually in you. It would be impossible for God to be with you any more fully than he is through his Spirit.

In this passage Paul explains some of the extraordinary benefits of God being with you in this way: ‘Spirit can be known only by spirit – God’s Spirit and our spirits in open communion. Spiritually alive, we have access to everything God’s Spirit is doing, and can’t be judged by unspiritual critics. Isaiah’s question, “Is there anyone around who knows God’s Spirit, anyone who knows what he is doing?” has been answered: Christ knows, and we have Christ’s Spirit’ (vv.15–16, MSG).

Like the psalmist, the apostle Paul expounds on all the wonderful things that ‘God has prepared for those who love him’ (v.9, see also Psalm 91:14, ‘Because you love me…’).

Paul compares God’s wisdom to the ‘fashionable wisdom of high-priced experts that will be out-of-date in a year or so’ (1 Corinthians 2:6, MSG). God’s secret wisdom has been revealed to us (vv.6–10) – the wonder of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. The rulers of the world did not understand it. If they had, they would not have crucified Jesus: ‘The Lord of glory’ (v.8).

God’s secret wisdom is amazing. ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him’ (v.9).

In his book, True Spirituality, Vaughan Roberts notes that there is a four-fold process in which the Holy Spirit reveals God’s wisdom to us.

  1. The Holy Spirit knows
    He knows what no human being could otherwise know – the mind and thoughts of God. ‘The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows the thoughts of another human being except that person’s own spirit within? In the same way, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God’ (vv.10b–11).

  2. The Holy Spirit reveals
    The Holy Spirit does not keep his knowledge of the wisdom of God to himself, but he reveals it to those in whom he dwells. ‘We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us’ (v.12). You have received the Spirit who is from God. He is with you. He enables you to understand the secret wisdom of God, though of course we could never fathom the depths of God. As Paul says later in this letter, in this life ‘we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror’, not yet ‘face to face’ (13:12).

  3. The Holy Spirit inspires
    Paul was inspired by the Spirit to pass on the wisdom of the gospel to others. ‘This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words’ (2:13). The Spirit similarly teaches you what to say so that you too can express ‘spiritual truths in spiritual words’, generally through the Spirit-inspired words of the apostles recorded in the New Testament. You can share words in line with Scripture that point people to Jesus.

  4. The Holy Spirit illuminates
    Without the Holy Spirit, you simply cannot understand spiritual truths: ‘The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned’ (v.14). When God is with you by his Spirit you can actually understand the mind of the Lord. Indeed, you ‘have the mind of Christ’ (v.16).

Prayer

Lord, thank you for this amazing truth that you are with me by your Spirit. Today, may I have the mind of Christ in all my decisions and conversations. I pray for spiritual words to express spiritual truths.

Old Testament

1 Chronicles 22:2-23:32

Preparations for the Temple

2 So David gave orders to assemble the foreigners residing in Israel, and from among them he appointed stonecutters to prepare dressed stone for building the house of God. 3 He provided a large amount of iron to make nails for the doors of the gateways and for the fittings, and more bronze than could be weighed. 4 He also provided more cedar logs than could be counted, for the Sidonians and Tyrians had brought large numbers of them to David.

5 David said, “My son Solomon is young and inexperienced, and the house to be built for the Lord should be of great magnificence and fame and splendor in the sight of all the nations. Therefore I will make preparations for it.” So David made extensive preparations before his death.

6 Then he called for his son Solomon and charged him to build a house for the Lord, the God of Israel. 7 David said to Solomon: “My son, I had it in my heart to build a house for the Name of the Lord my God. 8 But this word of the Lord came to me: ‘You have shed much blood and have fought many wars. You are not to build a house for my Name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in my sight. 9 But you will have a son who will be a man of peace and rest, and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side. His name will be Solomon, and I will grant Israel peace and quiet during his reign. 10 He is the one who will build a house for my Name. He will be my son, and I will be his father. And I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’

11 “Now, my son, the Lord be with you, and may you have success and build the house of the Lord your God, as he said you would. 12 May the Lord give you discretion and understanding when he puts you in command over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the Lord your God. 13 Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the Lord gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.

14 “I have taken great pains to provide for the temple of the Lord a hundred thousand talents of gold, a million talents of silver, quantities of bronze and iron too great to be weighed, and wood and stone. And you may add to them. 15 You have many workers: stonecutters, masons and carpenters, as well as those skilled in every kind of work 16 in gold and silver, bronze and iron—craftsmen beyond number. Now begin the work, and the Lord be with you.”

17 Then David ordered all the leaders of Israel to help his son Solomon. 18 He said to them, “Is not the Lord your God with you? And has he not granted you rest on every side? For he has given the inhabitants of the land into my hands, and the land is subject to the Lord and to his people. 19 Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the Lord your God. Begin to build the sanctuary of the Lord God, so that you may bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord and the sacred articles belonging to God into the temple that will be built for the Name of the Lord.”

The Levites

23When David was old and full of years, he made his son Solomon king over Israel.

2 He also gathered together all the leaders of Israel, as well as the priests and Levites. 3 The Levites thirty years old or more were counted, and the total number of men was thirty-eight thousand. 4 David said, “Of these, twenty-four thousand are to be in charge of the work of the temple of the Lord and six thousand are to be officials and judges. 5 Four thousand are to be gatekeepers and four thousand are to praise the Lord with the musical instruments I have provided for that purpose.”

6 David separated the Levites into divisions corresponding to the sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath and Merari.

Gershonites

7 Belonging to the Gershonites:

Ladan and Shimei.

8 The sons of Ladan:

Jehiel the first, Zetham and Joel—three in all.

9 The sons of Shimei:

Shelomoth, Haziel and Haran—three in all.

These were the heads of the families of Ladan.

10 And the sons of Shimei:

Jahath, Ziza, Jeush and Beriah.

These were the sons of Shimei—four in all.

11 Jahath was the first and Ziza the second, but Jeush and Beriah did not have many sons; so they were counted as one family with one assignment.

Kohathites

12 The sons of Kohath:

Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel—four in all.

13 The sons of Amram:

Aaron and Moses.

Aaron was set apart, he and his descendants forever, to consecrate the most holy things, to offer sacrifices before the Lord, to minister before him and to pronounce blessings in his name forever. 14 The sons of Moses the man of God were counted as part of the tribe of Levi.

15 The sons of Moses:

Gershom and Eliezer.

16 The descendants of Gershom:

Shubael was the first.

17 The descendants of Eliezer:

Rehabiah was the first.

Eliezer had no other sons, but the sons of Rehabiah were very numerous.

18 The sons of Izhar:

Shelomith was the first.

19 The sons of Hebron:

Jeriah the first, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third and Jekameam the fourth.

20 The sons of Uzziel:

Micah the first and Ishiah the second.

Merarites

21 The sons of Merari:

Mahli and Mushi.

The sons of Mahli:

Eleazar and Kish.

22 Eleazar died without having sons: he had only daughters. Their cousins, the sons of Kish, married them.

23 The sons of Mushi:

Mahli, Eder and Jerimoth—three in all.

24 These were the descendants of Levi by their families—the heads of families as they were registered under their names and counted individually, that is, the workers twenty years old or more who served in the temple of the Lord. 25 For David had said, “Since the Lord, the God of Israel, has granted rest to his people and has come to dwell in Jerusalem forever, 26 the Levites no longer need to carry the tabernacle or any of the articles used in its service.” 27 According to the last instructions of David, the Levites were counted from those twenty years old or more.

28 The duty of the Levites was to help Aaron’s descendants in the service of the temple of the Lord: to be in charge of the courtyards, the side rooms, the purification of all sacred things and the performance of other duties at the house of God. 29 They were in charge of the bread set out on the table, the special flour for the grain offerings, the thin loaves made without yeast, the baking and the mixing, and all measurements of quantity and size. 30 They were also to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord. They were to do the same in the evening 31 and whenever burnt offerings were presented to the Lord on the Sabbaths, at the New Moon feasts and at the appointed festivals. They were to serve before the Lord regularly in the proper number and in the way prescribed for them.

32 And so the Levites carried out their responsibilities for the tent of meeting, for the Holy Place and, under their relatives the descendants of Aaron, for the service of the temple of the Lord.

Commentary

With you in success

Have you ever felt disappointed or envious when others succeed in a ministry that you wanted to do? David’s example (22:6–19) challenges us to pray for others to succeed and to encourage, bless and help them when they do.

David had really wanted to build the temple himself. Now David prepares for his son, Solomon, to succeed him. He gets everything ready for him. He has a great succession plan setting Solomon up for success.

Leadership is about serving the people you lead so that they will go further and do better than you. When you are faithful to bless others in doing well, God will be faithful to honour and bless you.

It was David and Solomon who together made possible the building of the temple. David himself could not carry out the work as he had ‘shed much blood’ (v.8). Solomon is the one who will actually build the temple.

David says, ‘Now, my son, the Lord be with you, and may you have success and build the house of the Lord your God, as he said you would. May the Lord give you discretion and understanding… Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged… Now begin the work, and the Lord be with you’ (vv.11–16).

The Lord wasn’t only with Solomon: ‘David ordered all the leaders of Israel to help his son Solomon. He said to them, “Is not the Lord your God with you?”’ (vv.17–18a). God was with them also. He granted them ‘rest on every side’ (v.18b). He told them, ‘Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the Lord your God’ (v.19).

They had success and rest ‘since the Lord, the God of Israel, [had] come to dwell in Jerusalem for ever’ (23:25).

This is a cause for great rejoicing, thanksgiving and praise. The Levites were to ‘stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord. They were to do the same in the evening’ (v.30).

Long-term success comes from God being with you. Life may not be easy, but Jesus promised that if you stay close to him you will bear much fruit, and that fruit will last (John 15:1–17).

Prayer

Lord, thank you that you promise me long-term success and rest. May I thank and praise you from first thing in the morning until last thing at night for your presence with me.

Pippa adds

Psalm 91:9–16

I love Psalm 91. It makes me feel safe. It is a great psalm to pray for family and friends travelling long distances or facing difficulties. Over the years, I have written in the margin, alongside this psalm, quite a few things. They were things I was worried about at the time. God has been faithful. He has watched over all of them.

Verse of the Day

Psalm 91:11

‘… he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways’
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References

The One Year® is a registered trademark of Tyndale House Publishers. Used by permission.

Vaughan Roberts, True Spirituality (IVP, 2011).

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version Anglicised, Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 Biblica, formerly International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, an Hachette UK company. All rights reserved. ‘NIV’ is a registered trademark of Biblica. UK trademark number 1448790.

Scripture marked (MSG) taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

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