Victoria Fellowship Church
International & Interdenominational
Bible Study Worksheet – September 11, 2016
Theme: Standing on God’s Promises
Topic: I Will Be with You
Main Texts: Joshua 1:1-10; 2 Kings 6:8-20
Key Verse: Joshua 1:5: “No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (NIV)
In our study last Sunday of God’s promise “I Will Provide for You”, we saw God’s commitment to meet our needs and His discretion to satisfy our wants. Some key learning from that study are::
- We need to reduce our needs to those God considers essential. We often mistake our wants for our needs, sometimes in the name of demonstrating faith. However, God’s commitment is to meet our needs. He also often meets our wants – and we can indeed ask for our wants – but His meeting them is entirely at His discretion.
- God may be holding back from meeting what appears to be a need because He wants to warn us against making commitments well beyond our means – including commitments on the standard of living we wish to maintain, or the extent of material support we want to give others.
- Receiving from God to meet our needs is closely linked to our readiness to give what we have. Abraham gave up his only beloved son Isaac; the widow of Zarephath gave out her family’s last food ration in the middle of famine – all in obedience to God. God made His word good in their lives by providing for them.
- Whenever we are under pressure and fear that a genuine need may not be met, we should remind ourselves of God’s faithfulness to His word in the past.
This Sunday, we will be looking at another of God’s promises: “I Will Be with You”. A sense of God’s presence with us inspires an unmatched confidence – much like a little boy standing with his father is undaunted by bully threats from a bigger boy. Our key learning from this study should include:
- God’s presence with us not only emboldens us in the face of threats and dangers, it strengthens us to accomplish tasks we never thought we could.
- We should not judge God’s presence with us by the immediate outcome of our endeavours, but by His commitment to His promise. He can be with us while we still go through suffering and severe challenges. His presence is manifested in the grace with which we go through such situations, and in His intervention in His perfect time.
For us to rightly claim His presence with us, we must live in obedience to Him. We cannot live in disobedience and continue to enjoy His abiding presence.
A sense of God’s presence in our lives inspires an unmatched confidence. Think of a little boy standing by his father in the face of a bigger boy that is known to be a bully. The child stands and talks like he is invincible. An assurance of God’s presence has always been a big deal with God’s people. When God threatened not to go with the Israelites to the promised land, Moses said: “… If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.” (Exodus 33:3,15). The immediate effect of God being with us is summed up in the words of Moses to Joshua: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you …” (Deuteronomy 31:6). A further effect of God’s presence is that we are able to accomplish what we would otherwise be unable to accomplish: “The LORD gave this command to Joshua son of Nun: ‘Be strong and courageous, for you will bring the Israelites into the land I promised them on oath, and I myself will be with you.’” (Deuteronomy 31:23)
1. What typical situations, experiences, observations or feelings make a Christian to believe that God is with him or her?
Most of us base our perception of God’s presence with us on the things we see physically or experience. If things are going well with us, we conclude that God is indeed with us. (Even those who do not profess faith in Christ are known to conclude that their success in what they do – whether good or bad – is an indication of God’s presence with them. Armed robbers are known to receive prayers for protection and success from supposed “men of God”, and when they succeed in their mission, they attribute it to the prayers!) The story in our second text illustrates the way many of us assess God’s presence – by physical manifestations. When the king of Aram sent his men to capture Prophet Elisha, Elisha’s servant saw the Aramean army approaching and he panicked. Apparently, Elisha’s word “Don’t be afraid, …Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” (2Kings 6:16) did not assuage the servant’s fear. It was only when, upon Elisha’s prayer, God made the servant to see God’s own army surrounding Elisha that he relaxed and watched God fight the battle.
2. What are the dangers of basing our perception of God’s presence on the outcomes of our endeavour?
3. What are the practical implications of Apostle Paul’s statement “For we live by faith, not by sight” (2Co 5:7) for the Christian’s awareness of God’s presence?
The Christian must recognise that God’s presence should not be taken for granted and that despite His promise to be with us, we could do things or live in a way that excludes Him from our lives. He is not necessarily with us in everything we do. Following King Saul’s disobedience as regards the Amalekites (1 Sam 15), Samuel told him that God was no longer with him as Israel’s king. God abandoned Samson several times due to disobedience and recklessness; Samson eventually lost his life to the Philistines. Jude wrote to the Christians: “keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.” (Jude 1:21 NIV)
4. What are the Christian’s responsibilities to assure of God’s abiding presence?
Father, teach me to fully cooperate with You as You fulfil Your promise of Your abiding presence with me. Do not let me stray to where You can no longer be with me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.