I have been doing much of my daily Bible reading in the Old Testament lately, particularly in the book of Genesis. At times, it is a challenge. While much of the Old Testament is exciting narrative, some days it’s just a little difficult to get much spiritual application out of a chapter of genealogies. I know, we’ve all been there.
But, sometimes, something jumps out at me and grabs my attention. And I can’t help but take notice. Recently, that something came from the story of Jacob.
Jacob, after having served Laban for over 14 years, loses favor with Laban and his sons. It’s pretty clear that he must pack up camp and move on before things turn sour. The Lord, in His mercy, tells Jacob as much. He commands him to return to the land of his fathers. But God says something to Jacob that stuck with me. Look at what Genesis 31:3 says: “And the Lord said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee.” Read that last statement again: I will be with you.
I read that and I thought, “Man, what did Jacob have to fear? God said He would be with him!” There are some moments in life, when faced with difficult circumstances or uncertainty, that I wish God would say that to me. I wish God would cry out from above, “Caleb! Take the job offer, I’ll be with you!” or “Caleb, don’t worry about it, I’ll be with you!”
I found myself thinking these things when it hit me – He did tell me that He would be with me. Maybe not directly, but Jesus said as much to his followers before He ascended into Heaven. At the end of one of the most famous verses of the Bible, Christ tells his disciples that He will be with them, “even unto the end of the world" (Matthew 28:20). It’s right there after the part about going and making disciples. We tend to focus so much on that aspect of the verse (which, don’t get me wrong, is hugely important) that we miss the gigantic promise that Jesus makes to us here. He promises us that He will be with us until the end of the age. We get all that Jacob was promised, plus more. God promised Jacob that He would be with Him in his flight from Laban, but Jesus adds that He will be with us, “until the end of the world.”
Furthermore, Jacob wasn’t indwelt with the Holy Spirit like we are. JD Greear has a whole book built around the concept that, “the Spirit inside you is better than Jesus beside you.”* Christ quite literally told His disciples that they would be better off if He left them and the Holy Spirit came instead.
Think about that for a second. Jesus thought that his followers would be better off if He left Earth. As believers, we have the same God that promised Jacob he would be with him, and the same God that promised He would be with us, “even unto the end of the world” inside of us.
That means wherever we go, whatever we do, no matter the circumstances, no matter the difficulty or uncertainty, we have a Spirit inside of us that whispers, “I will be with you.” Rejoice in that today, Christian. You are indwelt by the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Live like it!
*Jesus, Continued by JD Greear