One of the most uplifting promises of God in the Bible is given both in the Old and New Testaments. It is a powerful encouragement that God will never leave us nor forsake us.
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.Deuteronomy 31:8, NIV
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”Hebrews 13:5, NIV
What a great assurance of hope (that we need even more during this challenging time in our generation)!
Both verses carry the same main idea: God is always faithful. God is a good Father who takes care of His children. We can rest in God’s love. His presence is what we need to live without fear. His promise is the anchor of our faith.
Interestingly, however, the context of the message is different. The former verse was given to Joshua in the context of a battle (war) against the nations to be conquered in the conquest of the Promised Land. The latter verse was given to God’s people in the context of a letter of exhortation to build faith and dependency on God rather than on money.
Jesus describes it very clear as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew:
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.Matthew 6:24, NIV
What is the correlation between war and money? They are both associated with security.
One of the most important questions we should ask ourselves today is: “Are we placing our security in God or money?” or, in other words, “Do we rely on God or earthly treasures like money?”
It is natural to think that life without money would be troublesome. But God’s value is supernatural—He commands us to live by faith, not by sight. Life without Him (instead of money) is a real danger.
Jesus says further in the Gospel of Luke:
Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.Luke 12:15, NLT
We should be very careful and examine our hearts against greediness, which can be manifested in the love of money, overwork, and/or materialism.
Perhaps it’s not exaggerating if I argue that our enemy today is not visible like in the physical wars, but rather invisible because it is actually a heart issue. I suppose most of us have been struggling with this enemy as we live in this pleasure-oriented world.
But again, Jesus concludes His parable with this [offensive] statement:
A person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.Luke 12:21, NLT
This means that, according to Jesus, a person is foolish or not depending on what he/she is storing up, either perishable things or eternal things.
Another profound statement from Jesus:
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.Matthew 6:19-21, NIV
What does it mean to store up treasures in heaven? Jesus provides the answer:
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.Matthew 6:33, NKJV
We must have the right priority in life. God’s kingdom and His righteousness should be first and foremost.
What is the root of greed (or the love of money)? Insecurity. Anxiety. Worry. Self-centeredness.
What is the fruit of greed (or the love of money)? Restlessness. Corruption. Selfish ambition.
Jesus knows perfectly that we all need ‘all these things’ (the worldly concerns, the material needs, etc.) while we live on earth and He has promised to provide all our needs.
And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:19, NKJV
But we must first desire the Giver rather than the gifts. We must first seek His heart rather than His hand. We must focus on eternal matters rather than temporal things. We must worship God, not money.
Our primary concern should be the salvation of our soul, as explicitly expressed in Jesus’ question:
And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?Matthew 16:26, NLT
Only then we can welcome His invitation to find rest in His love:
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.Matthew 11:28, NKJV
Today let us ask the Lord to replace our restless pursuit of worldly riches with His restful peace in our hearts.
What a wonderful promise that God the Father is never going to leave us nor forsake us and that God the Son is going to give us rest!
I wonder if there is any kinder god than the Heavenly Father whom we know and worship in the name of Jesus Christ.
Vancouver, July 31, 2020