Packed with Promises
Deuteronomy 31:8 “And the LORD, He it is that doth go before thee; He will be with thee, He will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.”
Have you ever read a verse that just leaped off the page at you? When I read this verse in Deuteronomy last week, I had just such an experience. I believe that this verse is just packed with many of God’s most wonderful promises.
This verse comes out of the book of Deuteronomy, where Moses is reviewing the law with the Israelites, just before they cross into the Promised Land after 40 years in the desert. The generation of Israelites that left Egypt has passed on, so the younger generation needs a review of all God’s commands and promises before they pass into the land of plenty that the Lord has preserved and set aside for them.
How often do we need a review? Sometimes I think it’s every day! It’s so important for the believer to come to God and His Word each day for a fresh look at all the promises that God has for us. It’s the same as any relationship that we have here on earth – we need to be in daily contact to maintain and build the relationship. In the same way, we need to spend time with God each and every day. We do that through prayer and through time in His Word, the Bible. Just as Moses was reviewing the law and commandments with the Israelites before they stepped into the Promised Land, we need a review each day before we step into the day God has planned for us.
Now back to our promise-packed verse. Let’s look at the many truths contained here. Our verse reads, “And the LORD, He it is that doth go before thee; He will be with thee, He will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:8). Now here are the promises: (1) the Lord goes before us; (2) the Lord will be with us; (3) the Lord will not fail us; and (4) the Lord will not forsake us. Wow! What a list! Now before we move on to look at these in a little more detail, let’s look at the end of our verse – the commands that follow the promises: (1) do not fear; and (2) do not be dismayed.
Let’s look at those amazing promises of God in a little more detail. First off, we are promised that the Lord will go before us. The Israelites saw this first hand as the Lord provided a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night to guide them as they passed through the desert (Exodus 13:22). Just as God guided them, He promises to guide us. Now that doesn’t mean that He will give us a light to follow around at night, but He gives us the Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts and thus lead, guide and direct us. If we listen to the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we can be assured that God is before us, preparing the way. We can also be assured that Christ has gone before us into Heaven, for He makes that very clear in John 14:2, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you”. No matter where we go, whether it is on earth or in Heaven we can be assured that if we are His children, He’s walking ahead of us.
Next, we are promised that the Lord will be with us. In Hebrews 13:5, we are told that the Lord promises to never leave us, nor forsake us. In Matthew 28:20, He tells us that He is with us always, even unto the end of the world. In John 14:16, we see that Jesus left us with the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to live in our hearts and stay with us always. As believers and children of God, we can be assured that we are never alone. Jesus is always beside us, we must just reach out to grab Him.
Our next promise is that the Lord will not fail us. It is impossible for God to fail us, but very easy for us to let go of His hand and fail Him. God promises us eternal life in the future and an abundant life today (John 10:10), but that abundance is found in walking in His ways. When we step out of God’s plan, it may seem like God has stepped away, but He hasn’t. He promised never to leave, remember? If we can’t feel His presence, we need to get our hearts and lives in order and then we will realize that He never went anywhere. Whatever the need, whatever the promise – the Lord is sufficient. “And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me (II Corinthians 12:9).
The last promise of our verse is that the Lord will not forsake us. Let’s look at what it means to forsake something or someone. To forsake means to renounce or turn away from. The Lord will never give up on us or turn away from us. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (II Peter 3:9). God’s will is that ALL should come to know Him. That’s not a God who will give up on someone. In the ultimate demonstration of His love, He sent His Son to die on a cross for the forgiveness of our sins. There’s no way that a God who loves like that would ever give up on one of His children. Let’s look at one last thing. God loves us so much that He never wants us to be out of fellowship with Him. He promises, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9). This means that every sin and every failing will be forgiven, if we but ask for forgiveness. God will never forsake us.
Now as we finish up this verse, let’s look at the commandments that we’re given following those four wonderful promises. Because we can be assured that the Lord will go before us, never leave us, never fail us, and never forsake us, we need to not be afraid and not be dismayed. After that list of promises, these commands don’t seem too hard, do they? How can we be afraid when we know that God is there with us? Isaiah 43:1-2 shows us that we need never be afraid, “Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee”. Wow, what assurance! If we hold onto these promises, there’s certainly no way that we can ever be dismayed or lose our courage. We can be assured that our courage and strength lay not in ourselves, but in the God who loves us and holds us.
My friends, hold onto these promises and claim them as your own. God is faithful and He loves you. No matter the situation, He isn’t going anywhere. May He bless you.