The Lord with me

person-864804_640Joshua 6:27: So the LORD was with Joshua, and his fame was in all the land. (ESV)

The lord being with Joshua is beyond a mere statement. One of the ways it was manifested was in the great victory that God gave Israel through him in the destruction of Jericho (Joshua 6).

Jericho was not your run in the mill city. The wall which surrounded it was so thick. But within a week of doing something about it, following God’s instruction, the walls of Jericho fell down flat and the city was totally destroyed by the children of Israel. It was definitely God who gave the victory but the instruction was passed through Joshua and because of that the people had Joshua in awe. It was something unique, having the wall of Jericho fall down flat was something special. Even great Moses did not have a similar item on his “resume.”

Before that event, Joshua had an encounter with an angel of God (Joshua 5), but we did not read that he told anybody about it. He probably did not make an announcement of it.

There are people who specialise in speaking of their special private encounter with God. That is self-elevation which God frowns at.

Though Paul experienced a deluge of spiritual revelation, it was not his common practise of talk about them, except when sharing about his salvation, of the supernatural encounter he had with Jesus that day on the way to Damascus (Acts 9).

He had so much supernatural encounter with God that at a time, he said that a messenger of Satan was assigned to him to buffet him (2Corinthians 12:1-12). No one in the history of the world can make such a claim, that he has so much revelation a messenger of Satan was sent to him to make him remain humble.

But Paul was very much focused on teaching the scriptures and preaching Jesus instructing people about the principles and dynamics of his birth, death, resurrection, and their relevance to the lives of the people that they may believe (1Corinthians 2:2).

He said that his preaching focus is Christ and him crucified. He was not interested in always trying to make himself respected by speaking of his big revelations. He said those who compare themselves with themselves are not wise (2Corinthians 10:12).

It was with great reluctance that he talked about being taken to the third heavens to hear unspeakable things which were not lawful for man to utter.

He does not immediately go to press to make an announcement of his supernatural encounters. And he said that he does not want people to rate him more that they have actually witnessed in his life (2Corinthians 12:6).

“The lord is with me,” is not for me to announce, it is for God to announce. The bible says that we should let another mouth praise us and not our own mouth (Proverbs 27:2). We are not supposed to be boastful, blowing our own trumpet, trying to becoming prestigious in the eyes of the people by making exotic claims, painting ourselves in flattering colours in their minds’ eyes.

God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). We are supposed to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God who in due time will lift us up (1Peter 5:6). Both you and God cannot be “lifting you up” at the same time. You have to be actively humbling yourself and in turn God will be active in elevating you but in his time. And the opposite can also happen. When you are so active in exalting ourselves, blowing our own trumpet, God is set to shut you out.

Jeremiah wrote: the lord is with me like a mighty terrible one (Jeremiah 20:11). He knows when God is with him, it does not matter who is against him (Romans 8:31).

The presence of God with us achieves different things in our lives. It prepares us, it incubates us, and it refreshes us.

Prepare

God is not with is for the fun of it, it is to prepare us. David said that God trains his hand for battle (Psalm 18). When the anointing came upon David the first time, he became courageous enough to take down Goliath. He said the God who was with him enabled him to kill bear and lion which attempted to kill the sheep in his care.

Samuel poured the oil on him on God’s instruction, and the bible says that the Holy Spirit came upon him from that time on (1Samuel 16-17). It was after that he took down Goliath.

The word of God prepared us to confront sin in all its dimensions. In Psalm 119 we read that when we keep God’s word in our heart, we will move from sinfulness to holiness (Psalm 119:9-11). God’s word being with us is the same as God being with us, and that prepares us to live a holy life as he is holy.

Incubates

This is about internal changes, metamorphosis, transformation. Paul said that we should not be conformed to this world but be transformed (Romans 12:2).

We cannot be changed by just our own effort, rather we will be changed by the power of God. We are not changed by worrying about changing, by reading more books, we are changed by the presence of God, through different means that we experience it.

To be made into a fisher of men, what Peter needed to do was be with Jesus. Jesus told him: follow him and I will make you a fisher of men (Matthew 4:19). The “making” comes in the “following.”

Jesus embodies the presence of God (Hebrews 1:1-3). Right now for us, the presence of God is conveyed by the Holy Spirit.

When we know what the presence of God is all about then we will craze for it as we should. A psalmist wrote that he needs to be with God, that he is hungry and thirsty for him (Psalm 42:1-2). If you do not know that God is one to be hungry and thirsty for then you are really in the wrong shape.

Peter wrote that we should desire the sincere milk of the word of God so that we may grow thereby (1Peter 2:2). There is no shortcut, it is through the presence of God delivered in doses from the word that we experience divine growth.

Refreshing

Peter said that when we repent, we will experience times of refreshing from the presence of God (Acts 3:19). To be refreshed is to come out as new, it is to experience renewed grace. It is to be sustained by divine energy flowing into us.

The bible says that those who wait upon the lord will renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagle and they were walk and not faint, run and not be weary. They are rejuvenated, they regain strength (Isaiah 40:13).

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