“For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?” (Exodus 33:16, NASB).
These are the words Moses spoke to God when he interceded for the Israelites after they had crafted a golden calf to worship while Moses was on Mt. Sinai for forty days receiving the Ten Commandments and other instructions from God. So, God threatened to send the Israelites into the promised land with only an angel to lead them and without His presence among them.
“Early in the morning Jacob took the stone that was near his head and set it up as a marker. He poured oil on top of it and named the place Bethel…Then Jacob made a vow: ‘If God will be with me and watch over me on this journey, if He provides me with food to eat and clothing to wear, and if I return safely to my father’s house, then the Lord will be my God. This stone that I have set up as a marker will be God’s house, and I will give to You a tenth of all that You give me'” (Genesis 28:18-22, HCSB).
Jacob was on a journey to Haran and at the end of one of the days during his journey he stopped and camped outdoors.
That night God appeared to Jacob in a dream of a stairway that started from where he was and reached to heaven. Angels were ascending and descending the stairway. In the dream God transferred to Jacob all the essential elements of the covenant He had established with his grandfather and father, Abraham and Isaac.
“But I will send you the Advocate—the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me” (John 15:26, NLT).
At the Last Supper Jesus explained to His disciples that He was going away–He was going to be arrested and executed–and so He would send the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, to be with His disciples.
“They said, Please pray to the Lord your God for us. As you can see, we are only a tiny remnant compared to what we were before. Pray that the Lord your God will show us what to do and where to go…Whether we like it or not, we will obey the Lord our God to whom we are sending you with our plea. For if we obey him, everything will turn out well for us… And today I have told you exactly what he said, but you will not obey the Lord your God any better now than you have in the past” (Jeremiah 42:2,3,6,21, NLT).
Following the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, King Nebuchadnezzar appointed a governor over Judah. The new governor encouraged the people of Judah who had fled to neighboring countries to return to Judah and farm the land.
“Then the Lord told him, Go back the same way you came…” (1 Kings 19:15, NLT)
Sometimes we can lose focus on how God is working even though He has done many extraordinary things in our lives.
The prophet Elijah seemed to lose his focus when Queen Jezebel threatened to kill him. Elijah was in such fear for his life that he fled to the wilderness even though he had just called fire down from heaven and called on God for rain that ended a three-year drought in Israel (vs. 18:39, 43-44).
“And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:26-28, NLT).
We often try to comfort someone who is suffering or grieving by quoting a phrase in vs. 28: “all things work together for good.” In the middle of tragic circumstances these words may provide little consolation to the one who is hurting. And the sentiment may even seem to trivialize one’s loss or grief (It’s almost like saying be happy because this bad thing happened to you.)
“The Spirit of the Lord will control you, you will prophesy with them, and you will be transformed into a different person. When these signs have happened to you, do whatever your circumstances require because God is with you.” (1 Samuel 10:6-7, HCSB)
In these verses the prophet Samuel is giving Saul instructions on the first thing he should do after he was chosen as the first king of Israel.