Never Alone

“And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone.” Genesis 2:18a (KJV)

We are never alone because God has promised always to be with us (Heb. 13:5).  This seemingly simple affirmation concerning God’s presence reflects our assurance that in spite of present circumstances or situations, we are never in it by ourselves—we are never alone.

In the Old Testament, God’s presence was associated with specific places.  After witnessing God’s messengers ascent and descent upon heaven’s ladder, Jacob humbly responded, “Surely the LORD was in this place and I did not know it” (Gen. 28:16).   Jacob then erected an altar to acknowledge God’s presence and named that place, Bethel, which literally means “House of God”.  Jacob realized he was never alone.

During Israel’s journey to the Land of Canaan, God revealed His presence in “smoke and fire”—first at Mt. Sinai (Exod. 19:18).  Later when the Tabernacle was erected, the Israelites would observe (from afar) the Presence of the Lord descend as a pillar of cloud and stand at the door of the Tabernacle as the LORD talked with Moses (Exod. 33:9).  Even in the wilderness, the Israelites discovered they were never alone.

The Temple in Jerusalem would ultimately be the place where the Nation of Israel would worship Jehovah.  It was there that “God dwelled’ and where His people would journey to observe the three Hebrew feasts—Passover (Lev. 23:5-8), Pentecost (Exod. 23:16) and Tabernacle (Lev. 23:34-44). The Temple and the city of Jerusalem were often referred to as Zion (fortress).  Zion was used figuratively of God’s spiritual kingdom where He dwelled (Ps. 125:1).   Those who worshipped God had to go where God dwelled.

“God with us” (Immanuel) was fully realized through the incarnation of Jesus (Matt. 1:23). This was the first time since the Garden of Eden that man would again experience fellowship with God.  This time it would be through His Son.  Imagine then, after three years of unbroken fellowship, the sense of abandonment Jesus’ disciples must have felt as they prepared for His departure.  But Jesus promised that He would not leave them comfortless or alone (John 14:17).  After His ascension into Heaven, Jesus would send the Holy Spirit to be their Comforter, Guide and Teacher (John 14:8; 15:26; 16:13).  On the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:4) they received the full measure of God’s presence through the Holy Spirit and with it the power and boldness to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The Apostle Paul wrote of his unwavering confidence in God’s presence even in the midst of persecution for his faith (2 Timothy 4:16-17).

“At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them.   But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me…”

The Apostles knew they would never be alone.  Believers must echo that same confidence knowing that Deity resides within each of them.  Today we can experience the fullness and power of God’s Presence through His Holy Spirit.  God is with us in unbroken fellowship and joyful intimacy (John 17:22-23).  During this time of transient relationships, it is reassuring to know that God is and will always be with us.  In spite of trials and tribulations, we are never in it by ourselves—we are never alone.

Good to the Last Byte…

With each new dispensation, God revealed His presence in different ways that reinforced the fact that His chosen people are never alone.  Throughout the writings of the Psalmists, God’s presence was recognized to extend beyond the spatial limitations of tabernacles and temples.  In Psalm 139:7-10, God’s immensity is featured:

“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?   If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.   If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.”