The Assurance of God’s Presence

“Then [Gideon] said to him, ‘If now I have found favor with you, then show me asign that it is you who speak with me. Do not depart from here until I come to you, and bring out my present, and set it before you.’ And [the angel of theLord] said, ‘I will stay until you return.'” – Judges 6:17-18

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE READING: Judges 4-8

Today, we read about the call of Gideon. Gideon was a military leader, a judge, and a prophet whose story is told in Judges 6-8. His calling from God involved leading the Israelites in victory over the Midianites. But it is the assurance of God that Gideon requests in his call story that I find interesting — especially in light of all that is going on in our world today.

The Midianites were not an easy battle and when the angel of the Lord appears to Gideon, Gideon wants the reassurance that God will be with him. For the last several weeks, we have heard all the reports about the novel COVID-19 virus (coronavirus) that have circulated, and many are scared about what this virus will do. We are concerned for our health and well-being; we are concerned about the impact on businesses and global economy; we are concerned about impact on hospitals and health care providers. I’m not going to lie — there is plenty to be concerned about. But in the midst of our concern, we should cling to our faith.

Paul reminds us in Philippians: “Do not worry about anything, but in everythingby prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 4:6-7). Why does Paul instruct the Christians of Philippi not to worry, and why should we cling to this hope during the coronavirus pandemic? Because we have the assurance of God’s presence with us.

Just before Jesus ascended to heaven, he shared these words with his disciples: “…remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age,” (Matthew 28:20). Paul also reminds us in Romans that nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord,” (cf. Romans 8:37-39).

It’s OK to be concerned. But we can have hope in Jesus because we believe that God is with us, and God’s love is greater than any virus we may face.

This Sunday, we will be worshiping together virtually (more information below). I hope you have an amazing weekend and I look forward to being with you in worship online beginning at 10:15 AM this Sunday!

Grace and peace,
Matt

P.S. Over the next few weeks, I want to encourage you to read Psalm 23 daily and memorize this scripture. It is comforting as we are reminded that God is our shepherd who is with us always and leads us beside still waters. One of my daily practices is to recite this scripture as a prayer whenever I am concerned about what is beyond my control. Try it this week!