Charles Stanley - I Will Never Leave You Nor Forsake You
Hi, this is Charles Stanley and I want to ask you a question. Is our present suffering just another disease or a divine plague? The first mention of a plague in Scripture is found in Genesis 12. "But the Lord struck Pharaoh and his house with the great plagues because of Sarah, Abram's wife". A plague sent by God in the household of Pharaoh as a result of his relationship with Abraham's wife. The second mention, Exodus 9, God's purpose to reveal Himself as the one true God to Pharaoh. "But this time I will send all my plagues on you and your servants and your people so that you may know that there is no one like Me in all the earth".
It was the plague sent by God that finally motivated Pharaoh to free the Israelites. The plagues ranged from turning the Nile River into blood. The final plague resulted in the death of Pharaoh's son and the release of the Israelites from bondage. It took 10 plagues before Pharaoh got the message. Israel's God, Jehovah, was and still is the God of the universe. And like the Egyptians, we have not acknowledged our sinfulness and continue in our rebelliousness and wicked ways. What will God have to do to get our attention? For us to realize this is more than a physical problem. He says in Psalm 103, He's established His throne on the heavens and His sovereignty rules over all. God is in charge.
Here is a question we need to consider seriously. 2 Chronicles 7, why has the Lord done this to this land? And they will say, because they forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers who brought them from the land of Egypt and they adopted other gods and worshiped them and served them. Therefore, He has brought all this adversity on them. The wickedness in our land has reached unbelievable proportions. Murder, drunkenness, rioting, immorality, burning churches, places where we worship God, Holy Father, Creator, our Judge. We have slapped God in the face.
The judgment of God often comes as a storm. What anchors us when the storms come? Our faith in God. Past experiences of God's help and protection in storms. Our view of God as a loving Heavenly Father, our determination to trust Him even in the midst of grave danger and loss. Our personal concern for others also in the storms, continual recalling and repeating of a favorite verse of Scripture in which God promises to help us, the continuing assurance we have in the midst of the storms.
Listen to this, God knows where we are. God knows the danger we are facing. God knows I'm gripped with fear. God knows how helpless I feel. God will somehow turn this for my good, Romans 8:28. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. God is always there to help us in times of storms. And when you read through the Psalms and through Proverbs especially and you see how God makes one promise after the other, that no matter what we're going through, no matter what the cause, no matter what the source, our Heavenly Father says, "I will never leave you nor forsake you".
Now sometimes we don't feel that that's true. Sometimes we feel like well, Lord, if you really love me, you wouldn't let this happen, that's not necessarily true. Sometimes it's because He loves us that He allows things to happen and we can't understand. We can't trace the origin. We don't think we really and truly deserve. It's not a matter sometimes of deserving. It's a matter of, why does God allow these things to happen? And if we stop and think and ponder in our heart and seek the Lord's guidance and His wisdom, what we'll have to admit sometimes is, Lord, you were looking out for my best interest. You had my best interest in mind. You knew that I needed this calamity in my life to get me to open my eyes to Your presence and Your power and Your love for me.
We can always make excuses for denying the presence of God in our lives or sinning against Him. But there's no excuse for sin. There are times when we are weaker than others. But remember this, no matter what you're facing in life, once you made this decision, to trust the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you can rest on this; I will never leave you nor forsake you is the promise of Almighty God. Never leave you nor forsake you no matter what. Whether it's a disease, some national calamity, whatever it might be. The right response is, Lord, what would You have me to do? Lord, what are You saying to me in all of this?
And all the things that we have just mentioned, all are a part of our thinking. And if our heart is right with God, here's we'll do; we will ponder why, wonder why, blame or whatever it might be, then we will finally come to the conclusion well God, You loved enough to not let me get by with this. You loved me enough to help me to understand why this is going on in my life. You loved to me enough not to let me escape chastisement that You knew I needed to experience. I would just say, Father, thank you, thank you, thank you for loving us.
And at this time in our lives when we're all suffering, we're all going through it time after time, all we need to do is to look up and remember and remind ourselves, our heavenly Father said, I'll never leave you nor forsake you. Now listen carefully. No one else can promise you that. I will never leave you nor forsake you, no one else can promise you that. And He intends for us to continually, unendingly, without exception, depend upon Him, cry out to Him, trust in Him, and then ask Him Lord, what am I to learn in this calamity? God will show you because He loves you.
And it is my prayer that as you have listened to this brief message, the Spirit of God will come into your life in a special way. You will find yourself confessing the fact that you have not prayed right, or prayed often enough. You've not read the Word of God as you should have. You've not spoken to others about their relationship to the Lord. You've not said to others, we need to pray during this time. Maybe you've been looking for some easy way out.
Would you not agree, this pandemic has no easy way out? We are trusting, we're believing, we're waiting, we're searching, most of all, we're turning our eyes upon You, Lord, and we're believing with all of our heart that every promise You ever made You'll keep. You said You cause all things to work together for good for our best interests. No matter what it might be, Lord, some of us will have to admit that we've complained, moaned and groaned, and we've quoted that verse and said, but Lord, what about this? No. You can rest assured of this, the love of God is absolutely, unequivocally, unendingly true.
If He's allowed things to happen in your life that you don't understand, remember this, our God is a loving God who allows whatever He allows for a purpose, that is divine, supernatural, awesome and always for our eternal good. May that be true in your life at this time, that all of us are facing difficulty hardship, pain, but also knowing we have a heavenly Father Who will never leave us nor forsake us.
Father, we thank you for this time together. I pray for those who are doubting Your presence and Your power, speak to their hearts and remind us that Your love never ceases and never wavers, is always there because Your love is unending. In Jesus name, amen.