THE LORD IS WITH YOU – Psalm 46; Phil. 2:12-13
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1)
One condition for producing fruit in Kingdom’s repeatedly shows up in scripture, though it is phrased in more than one way: “The Lord was with them,” “The Hand of God was upon them,” “The power of the Spirit rested on them,” “They were filled with the Spirit” and so on. This is a power-packed spiritual key. In scripture, we are rarely told of a biblical character’s personal claim, great oratorical abilities or skills in drawing a crowd. God purposely looks beyond these qualities to focus on the one essential ingredient to kingdom effectiveness: a life saturated with his powerful presence.
Joseph’s remarkable life, highlighted in Genesis 37-50, teaches this spiritual key. The bible says in four different places, “The Lord was with Joseph” (saturating him with God’s presence). Though Joseph encountered hardship, the Bible doesn’t have one negative word to say about him. Joseph graduated from one test to another as he responded with faithfulness to God. And in the midst of challenges, he didn’t get offended at God.
Joseph’s life teaches that difficulties are God’s testing ground for what he has created us to walk in. How we respond reveals much about us. As God sees our faithfulness in small areas, he expands us in relation to those areas. At each step he continues to watch. As we’re faithful and obedient, he releases increasing measures of his powerful presence within us.
Moses’ Cry for God’s Presence
Experiencing breakthrough as Christians means declaring what Moses prayed so long ago: “If your presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here.” When he prayed this, God was leading him to take the Israelites into the Promised Land. Moses, aware of his limitations and his inability to accomplish such a feat in his own power, cried out to God to remember promising to bring his people into the Promised Land. He knew the correct posture to have when serving God. Like him, we feel inadequate, ill-prepared, too weak and broken to produce any fruit for God’s kingdom. Jesus knows our weakness; he knows our inability to produce anything of our own accord. This is why he promises to promises his powerful presence to us. It’s his presence that brings fruitfulness, his presence that makes a way.
I Will Be With You
We find the statement, “I will be with you” spoken to Joshua as he prepared to take over leadership of the Israelites after Moses’ death. In Joshua 1:5-9, God assured Joshua of his presence and announced four times in five verses that Joshua was to be “strong and courageous” as a result. God was stamping this message of being strong and courageous onto Joshua’s insecure spirit. God shows no partiality. What he did with those in the Bible he does with us. He’s the same God who was with Joseph, Moses and Joshua. We can expect him to be with us too as we obediently align with the conditions of his word.