To be an Israelite

I must say, this anxious heart has often envied the Israelites.

You might be thinking, huh??  lol.

You mean like 400 years of slavery, suffering under the hands of harsh taskmasters, fleeing in terror as the Egyptians chased after them and being told to walk through the Red Sea, wandering in the desert for 40 years with only manna to eat. Um... ALL those things sound quite anxiety provoking!

Well there is that, lol, but what I envied is the fact that God's visible presence was with them in the cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.  His presence was always with them.  He NEVER steered them wrong.  He provided for them, despite their grumbling, time and time again.

I just think it would be so comforting to know that when I looked out my tent window and saw the cloud I would think, there is God!  Surely nothing can happen to me for God is right there!  And indeed the Israelites saw His protection without fail.

And then I've envied those who actually walked with Jesus.  Those who saw the very Son of God, who experienced His love, kindness, teaching and wisdom, in the flesh, right before their eyes.  And who witnessed the countless miracles He performed.

How comforting it must've been for the Apostles when they were in the storm tossed boat, frightened and calling out to Jesus to save them, and Jesus immediately calmed the sea.  Or when Peter was filled with courage when He asked Jesus to summon him to walk on water.

And, of course, the many stories of incredible faith, like the hemorrhagic woman who knew all she had to do was touch Jesus garment and she would be healed.

I would imagine that seeing Jesus and seeing the miraculous signs and wonders He performed would bolster anyone's faith.

But we know that even though God's presence was with the Israelites, they doubted and grumbled, and we also know that many in Jesus' time refused to believe that He was the Son of God, even after having seen...

Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; 
blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
John 20:29

As I pondered these things I realized, I don't need to envy the Israelites who had God's presence in their midst nor do I have to envy those who walked with Jesus.  Why?  Because the Holy Spirit resides IN me!  You can't get much closer than that!

Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, 
for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.
John 16:7

"Jesus' promise recorded in John 16:7 contains a name for the Holy Spirit - Comforter - that reveals the uniqueness of His nearness to us.  It's equally translated from the Greek into six other names, each describing a different aspect of the Holy Spirit's ministry in our lives:

Comforter:  One who relieves another of mental distress

Counselor:  One who gives advice

Helper:  One who gives relief and support

Advocate:  One who pleads the cause of another

Strengthener:  One who causes you to become stronger, to endure and resist attacks

Standby:  One who can always be relied on

Isn't it reassuring to know you have Someone in your life with all these attributes?  That Someone is the Holy Spirit, who is Jesus in you!"

Anne Graham Lotz
Fixing My Eyes on Jesus

And not only that, but think about the Amazing Love that brought about such nearness to the Lord.  Jesus had to die, be raised up and ascend into Heaven so that the Holy Spirit could come to live within us.

The bottom line is that God has NEVER left His people alone.  The triune Godhead has covered every dispensation.

The Israelites - God Himself

The Disciples and the Gentiles - Jesus

The generations after Jesus death, resurrection and ascension - the Holy Spirit

What a loving Father we have!  He ALWAYS wants to be near us.  Let us draw near to Him.

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  1. Even though I have never seen God I know he has been with me all of my life

    1. Indeed and Amen!

      Thanks so much for stopping by. :-)

  2. Oh, such comforting words to my heart today! I, too, feel that longing for a visible demonstration that God is with me. Oh, I long for that! But, you are so right. The Holy Spirit is IN us, and that is a much more intimate relationship. Thank you for, once again, encouraging my heart. I have extreme anxiety, dear friend, and I would so appreciate your prayers today. Sending much love and gratitude to you for your unfailing faithfulness to God and His call upon your life.

    1. Oh Sweet Friend, I am lifting you up to the God of all Comfort and the Prince of Peace. May you feel a Holy calm wash over you that is unmistakably God's presence reminding you that He goes before you and is with you, that He will never leave you or forsake you.

      May the God of Peace make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you.

      Sending you much love dear Cheryl.

  3. I love that He never leaves us nor forsakes us!

    1. Hi Jennifer, Amen!

      Thanks so much for stopping by. :-)

  4. I've also often wondered how the Israelites could have complained SO much, when they had the cloud and fire of God's presence. Then again, I tend to do some mighty fine complaining, and I have Christ in me...

    1. Hi Ellen, I'm right there with you. Had those same thoughts, yet when taking stock of my own behavior, I am no different. :-/

      Praise God we have a Gracious Savior who continually redirects us and is patient with us.

      Thanks so much for stopping by.

  5. Dear Karen,
    I love this thought: "The bottom line is that God has NEVER left His people alone. The triune Godhead has covered every dispensation." What a comfort that brings me tonight. God has always longed to have relationship with His people. Oh, may I grow in trusting Him right there. Blessings to you!

    1. Hi Bettie, When the Lord showed that to me it really was an ahh haa moment!


      Thanks so much for visiting! :-)

  6. Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday on! It is very encouraging to think about!


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