1 O Lord, You have searched me
and known me.
2 You know when I sit down and when I get up;
You understand my thought from far off.
3 You search my path and my lying down
and are aware of all my ways.
4 For there is not a word on my tongue,
but behold, O Lord, You know it fully.
5 You put Yourself behind and before me,
and keep Your hand on me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is lofty, and I cannot fathom it.
Sometimes we don’t let people get to know us completely because we are afraid they will discover something about us they won’t like. But God already knows everything about us, even to the number of hairs on our head as it tells us in Matthew 10:30, and still He accepts and loves us. He is with us through every situation, in every trial. Protecting, loving, guiding. He knows us and loves us completely….He will never leave us!
7 Where shall I go from Your spirit, or where shall I flee from Your presence?
God is omnipresent – He is everywhere. Because this is so, you can never be lost to His Spirit. This is good news to those who know and love God, because no matter what we do or where we go, we can never be far from God’s comforting presence.
Whenever I go to the Men’s Retreat at Camp Ironwood, in California, with our church I always go on what is called the “Prayer Walk” ….it is a long winding path out in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by sand and tall bushes. You are completely alone…. alone with God.
You are given a map to follow…On the path there are markers or stopping points. At each point the map suggests what Bible passage to read and what to pray for.
You can sit in a chair provided and just meditate if you want. You are at one with God. As you walk and stop and read and pray…eventually you realize you are walking with Jesus. I get the feeling of strolling with a dear friend who you can talk to and tell your innermost secrets and fears. I never feel closer to Jesus than on those walks…
When I get back to my cabin I feel such a calmness and warmth. I never want to have that feeling go away…. but somehow it did…
I think the only way to get that feeling back is to go on the “Prayer Walk” again.
I prayed and spoke with the Lord saying, “I want to always feel your peace and presence like I do on the “Prayer Walk”….In that quiet moment, I sensed the Lord reminding me that I did not leave Him on the path when I went back to my cabin.
There was nothing magical about that place that caused me to experience Him so intimately.
It’s as if He was saying, “You didn’t leave me there, Leon. I am always with you. I will never leave you. I will never forsake you”
The writer of Hebrews states:
5 Let your lives be without love of money, and be content with the things you have. For He has said: “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.”
That simple, yet profound truth really hit home.
“He will never leave me.”
Your thoughts may turn to those who have left you because you think you have failed them, because they wrestled with some inner shame that caused them to run, because God took them home to heaven before you were done loving them, or just because the Lord took you on different life paths.
Then you can say:
“But you, O Lord. You will never leave me. Ever.”
And He will never leave you. Praise God! Those who are with Jesus are literally never alone. He is always right by your side, every moment of every day.
He is the third person in your marriage and the third person in your friendships.
He is with you as you drive your car, make dinner, walk the dog, and do your work.
He provides hope, help, comfort, and truth. He corrects you when you need it. He lifts you when you are down. He is there to guide you and teach you. He loves you, not because of who you are, but because of who He is.
His faithfulness flows out of His unchanging character. He is always there!
Remember He loved you first! He loved you so much He created you, and then came down from Heaven to die for your sins and my sins…. He came down to be with you and with me.
Remember Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego when the ticked off Nebuchadnezzar? Remember what the good king did?
19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Therefore he spoke, and commanded that they should heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. 20 He commanded the most mighty men in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and cast them into the burning fiery furnace….Therefore, because the king’s commandment was urgent and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 23 These three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spoke, and said to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” 25 He answered and said, “But I see four men loose and walking in the midst of the fire, and they are unharmed. And the form of the fourth is like the Son of God!”
The fourth man was Jesus…. the precarnate Jesus…Jesus before he came to earth to die for our sins…
He has always been and always will be. He never ever leaves.
Let me say that again. Let that simple, yet profound truth sink in.
He. Will. Never. Leave. You.
For this reason, you can be content with what you have.
You are filled with joy in His presence:
28 You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy with Your presence.
You don’t need to fear the words or actions of others:
6 The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can people do to me?
You can sleep in peace:
8 I will both lie down in peace and sleep;
for You, LORD, make me dwell safely and securely.
And you can laugh at the days to come:
25 Strength and honor are her clothing, and she will rejoice in time to come.
He is always, always there.
Thank you, Jesus.
The Old Testament also gives us the assurance He will always be here:
8 The Lord, He goes before you. He will be with you. He will not fail you nor forsake you. Do not fear, nor be dismayed.”
9 Have not I commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
There are times when some of us may slip back a little and forget that God is with us. We may do things we ordinarily wouldn’t do…we may go back to our “old self” and forget Jesus is there for you.
Remember what Paul told the people of Corinth:
Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things have passed away. Look, all things have become new.
That means all of your “old self” will be gone…. or should be…. but, being human and sinful by nature, we can and, sometimes do, slide back. Then you can feel God doesn’t love you anymore. You can feel worthless, you can start hating yourself and this can lead to more back sliding. Anger issues can be a trigger for some of us to turn our back on God, and turn to our old ways. Ask yourself are you angry with someone, are angry with yourself, or are you angry with God?
God does not deserve our anger…. We deserve God’s anger. But because of His mercy and grace he chooses to forgive us and save us from ourselves.
Remember God is there for you! He always was and always will be!
13 You brought my inner parts into being; You wove me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will praise you, for You made me with fear and wonder;
marvelous are Your works, and You know me completely.
15 My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in secret,
and intricately put together in the lowest parts of the earth. 16Your eyes saw me unformed, yet in Your book all my days were written, before any of them came into being.
God’s character goes into the creation of every person. When you do feel worthless or even begin to hate yourself, remember God’s Spirit is ready and willing to work within you…We should have as much respect for ourselves as our Maker has for us.
Matthew Henry said:
“We cannot see God, but He can see us… No veil can hide us from God; not the thickest darkness. No disguise can save any person or action from being seen in the true light by Him. Secret haunts of sin are as open before God as the most open villainies. On the other hand, the believer cannot be removed from the supporting, comforting presence of his Almighty Friend…No outward circumstance can separate him from his Lord. While in the path of duty, he may be happy in any situation, by the exercise of faith, hope, and prayer.”
17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them! 18 If I should count them,
they are more in number than the sand; when I awake,
I am still with You.
When someone you love is thinking about you all the time, it comforts you. God wants to keep us from falling and to catch us if we do fall…. Let Him do it!
God’s directions concerning us and our welfare are so deep we cannot not even begin to fathom it. We cannot think how many mercies we have received from Him. How many times He has forgiven us. How many times He has saved us from misfortune or disaster. How many times He has saved us from ourselves.
It would help us to remain faithful to the Lord all day long, if, when we wake in the morning, our first thoughts are of Him; and how shall we admire and bless our God for His precious salvation, when we awake in the world of glory that He has created.
19 If only You would slay the wicked, O God!
O violent men, depart from me.
20 For they speak against You with malice,
and Your enemies take your name in vain.
21 Do I not hate those, O Lord, who hate You?
And do I not abhor those who rise up against You?
22 I hate them with perfect hatred;
I count them my enemies.
Sin is hated, and sinners lamented, by all who believe in Jesus. Yet while we shun them we should pray for them; with God, their conversion and salvation are possible. After all we were there once too.
The way of godliness is pleasing to the Lord, and profitable to us; and will end in everlasting life.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
try me, and know my concerns,
24 and see if there is any rebellious way in me,
and lead me in the ancient way.
David asked God to search for sin and point it out, even to the level of testing his thoughts. How are we to recognize sin unless God point it out? Then when God shows us, we can repent and be forgiven. If you ask God to search your heart and your thoughts to reveal sin in your life, you will be continuing in God’s everlasting way.
As Matthew Henry said:
“It is the good old way. All the saints desire to be kept and let in this way, that they may not miss it, turn out of it, or tire in it.”
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities nor powers, neither things present nor things to come, 39 neither height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This list of experiences and persons that can’t separate the believer from God’s love in Christ was not just theory to Paul. It was rather personal testimony from one who had personally survived assaults from these entities and emerged triumphant.
With all of this. All of the things God does for us. All of the heart ache we bring God, yet He still shows us mercy. With all of this you can’t help but believe that Jesus is with us always. Not just in thoughts and prayers, but He is with you right now, right by your side. He is with all of us right now! As I said earlier Jesus is the 3rd person in your marriage and the third person in your friendships. He provides hope, help, comfort, and truth. He is with us always.
Remember this prayer: Lord, how marvelous that you are my constant companion! How comforting it is to rest in this truth. Even when others leave or are taken away, you always stay. Help me to keep this in mind today. Amen.
Application: As you go about your day, thank your loving Lord that He is right by your side in everything you do and everywhere you go.