God is with Us
Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. (Gen 17:8)
God gave a promise to Abraham, saying He will give him land, descendants and that He will be their God. As I said yesterday, when God said He will be their God, it means He will be their King and Shepherd – who gives His life to save from wolves and bears the sheep entrusted to Him by the Father. However, there is a precondition to that. The shepherd doesn’t leave the sheep out to graze in the pasture by themselves. The shepherd stays with his sheep always. Hence a shepherd lives like a wanderer, travelling with his sheep for many months; he never leaves his sheep.
So, to be a king means that one is with his people always, and never apart. If a king lives away from his people, that’s a colonial rule. The British empire ruled Hong Kong even though the monarch didn’t live with the people. That is exploitation; a colony. But a king must understand the needs and conditions of the people. That is why, when it comes to election time in South Korea, candidates do things they don’t normally do in order to become president. They go around the markets, eating street foods, experiencing what the civilians would do. But that only lasts a short time. Once they become president, it’s not easy to do that.
Yet God said, “I will dwell among you, but not only that, I will walk among you”. He said He will walk among them and have His dwelling with them. That’s what makes a king. When God said, “I will be your King, your God”, it is always accompanied by a particular scripture. If we look up Leviticus 26, verse 12. Let’s read it together. “I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.” Here He first says, “I will walk among you”. He will be among the people; He will walk among them, observe them and see what troubles they may have. In verse 11, He says, “I will set My tabernacle among you, and My soul shall not abhor you.” He will set His tabernacle among them. He is not saying He will have a tabernacle in a nice place while yours will be somewhere down below over there. God’s tabernacle is together among the tabernacle of the people. So, if they face trouble, God goes through it with them; if the sun shines on them, it will be on God too. God will go through all of their hardships with them and thus be able to help them.
Jesus Christ is not someone who merely sympathizes with our troubles; He has gone through all of our troubles and sufferings and therefore is able to help us. Some people think that God is cheering us on from heaven above while He hasn’t experienced any of the troubles we are facing. However, God first came to this world, went through all the ordeals and sufferings harsher than anybody will ever go through and was victorious. For this reason, He can emphatically tell us to endure and persevere to the end. He has every right to say that. Why? Because He did the same. When He tells us, “Resist sin to the point of bloodshed”, we can’t say, “Well, You don’t even have any blood to shed”. In fact, He has already shed His blood and gone that way which is why He can say that to us. So, we can’t say to Him, “But You are God who has no flesh, so You don’t understand any of our circumstances”.
Let’s also read Exodus chapter 29, verse 45. Exodus 29 verse 45. Let’s begin. “I will dwell among the children of Israel and will be their God.” Again, we can see here that God says He will be their God but before that He says He will dwell among the children of Israel. In other words, His dwelling will be among them. God instructed them to build a tabernacle in order that He may dwell among them. Exodus chapter 25 verse 8. Let’s begin. “And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.” As we see, the reason they built the tabernacle was for God to dwell among them. Now let’s have a read of Ezekiel 37 verse 27. Ezekiel 37 verse 27. Let’s read it together. “My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” Verse 28. “The nations also will know that I, the Lord, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.” The precondition for God to be their God was for His dwelling to be among them. So, He dwells with them.
In the Old Testament times, in the desert, they built God’s tabernacle in the midst of their tents and dwelt together. And the people believed that God dwelt with them as they saw the tabernacle. Later on, they came to know that the ark within the tabernacle was of importance. However, they had lost the ark and everything was destroyed so that God was no longer with them. Thus, the people rebuilt it again more solidly with stones in Jerusalem and thought that God would surely be with them, but even that was later destroyed. When they rebuilt and restored it again, thinking that God would definitely be with them, Jesus came and said, “Destroy it”. So, they were greatly shocked. It wasn’t just anybody who said this but a man whom so many of Israel looked up to and followed at the time. So, the people were stunned to hear him say, “Destroy this temple” because they believed that God had to be with them and be their King. But Jesus was referring to His body being the temple. And now He has allowed us to be the parts of His body so that we can be His temples too.
Now, when the Spirit of God comes into us, it’s not as the angel came to the temple of the Old Testament times. Instead, the Spirit of God – the Holy Spirit – comes in the name of God into us who have become the members of the body of Jesus; He is truly with us. Hence the promise that God will be with us forever has been fulfilled in us. If one has received the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ name, regardless of what happens to one’s feelings thereafter, the promise of God has been fulfilled. The name of God is with him, and God’s words which said, “My tabernacle also shall be with them” and “I will be with them forever” has finally been fulfilled. Thus, Immanuel is accomplished.
That is why we can now say that God is truly with us by the Holy Spirit. It is extraordinary. In the Book of Revelation, as the New Jerusalem came down, John was so moved that he exclaimed, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them”. In this way, our God is now within us and promises saying, “I will never leave you”, that “Man cannot separate this”. Now that God is within us, we become a blessing as God promised Abraham; furthermore, the authority of God’s name is with us and the blessing of God is with us. But we will only possess these in proportion to how much we acknowledge and confess them. The more I acknowledge this, the less the unclean spirits can attack and I can drive them away. To have God abide within us didn’t happen suddenly overnight. Rather it was what God had promised from a long time ago which has been fulfilled in us. And when we realize that, we are filled with thanksgiving and joy. Thank you, God, for being with me. Since we are now united to share the same destiny – God’s destiny has become mine – may this be wholly fulfilled. Let’s pray!
God our Father, we give thanks that our God abides with us forever. May God’s nature be revealed in us, God’s authority be displayed within us and the power of God be revealed within us. Help us so that God’s matter of interest may become our interests. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor Ki-Taek Lee
The Director of Sungrak Mission Center