Tag Archives: God in us

The God Who Contends

For I will contend with him who contends with you, And I will save your children.”  Is. 49:25b

In our study last week, we discovered the power available to us when we exchange our human weakness for God’s inexhaustible strength.  Declaring our total dependence on God moves believers from doubt and fear to confidence and trust.  This confidence is strengthened by the reality that we have a God who contend on our behalf.

In most Old Testament texts, contend refers to fighting or strife between two persons.  The Prophet Jeremiah pleaded with God to reverse His decision to punish Judah with exile:  Give heed to me, O LORD, and listen to the voice of those who content with me! (Jer. 18:19)

In other biblical writings, contend is used in reference to a legal argument or defense.  In Ps. 35:1, 23 the psalmist is asking the Lord to enter the case and act as their advocate.  Such is the case in John’s epistle as he reminds this new church that they have a “heavenly Advocate” who stands before the throne of God and contends for His saints (1 John 2:1).

Our text today is found in the section of Isaiah known as the “Prophecies of Comfort”.  Israel and Judah’s disobedience was a major offense to God throughout their national history.  Upon hearing Isaiah’s pronouncement of judgment, the people tried to shift blame to God by accusing Him of “forsaking  them” (v.14); but Isaiah would not engage in their excuses but would instead comfort them with God’s promise of the coming Messiah and hope of restoration.  God would contend for Israel and Judah, even while they were in exile and bring them and their families back to their native land.  Those nations who had been enemies of Zion would receive judgment for their crimes and ultimately destroyed. God would contend for Zion because of His promises and because of His great love for them (Deut. 7:7,8).

Before the foundation of the earth God was contending for us (Ps. 139:15, 16).  God contends for us through His everlasting love (Jer. 31:3) and spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3).  Through Jesus Christ, Satan has been defeated (Col. 2:15) and sinners reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:20).  With the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we have everything we need to successfully live in this corrupt and lustful world (2 Pet. 1:3-11).  Regardless of your personal situation or circumstance, know that God “has you covered”—He contends fo you.

Also Read:    “Victorious Living”

Press In

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.  Jeremiah 29:13 (NKJ)

This month we’ve been exploring the biblical truth that God is in and among us—continually, without interruption, 7X24.  We experience God through our personal fellowship with Him and through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.  However, there may be times when we don’t “feel” God.  We feel estranged from Him, alone, and unable to hear His voice.  Be assured, this is a common experience for believers.  The resolution for this spiritual occurrence, however, is not to curb our prayer life or cease in reading His Word.  During those times, it is imperative that we “press in.”

Disturbing Quietness

There are seasons in my life when it is extremely difficult to hear God’s voice.  I’m not talking about unanswered prayer but times of “disturbing quietness” when l must strain to hear Him—if I hear Him at all.  As I shared this experience, I found other believers had been through similar seasons of silence.  Interestingly, we all described it as a period when we “didn’t hear His voice.”

 In Search of an Answer

When I first experienced this quietness, I began to the search my heart for sins I might have committed yet failed to confess.  It was the sin of Adam that separated him and Eve from fellowship with God in the Garden of Eden.  Later Adam and Eve would experience the physical death of their body—the final separation from the world God had created for them.  I asked God to forgive me of my sins, yet I still felt disconnected from my First Love (Rev. 2:4).

My next effort was to examine my devotion time with Him.  I would increase my time of reading His Word.  Psalm 119 became my “song book” as I sought to hear His voice.

  • I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word. (v. 16)
  • I recounted my ways and you answered me; teach me your decrees. (v. 26)
  • Yet you are near, O LORD, and all your commands are true. (v. 151)
  • May my cry come before you, O LORD; give me understanding according to your word. (v. 169)

I would rise early to pray—leaving more time to “listen” and less to speak.  I would “draw near” with a sincere heart with expectations that He would do likewise (James 4:8; Heb. 10:22).  I would dedicate my day to praise and worship.  If God inhabits the praises of His people (Ps. 22:3), He would surely respond to me as I emptied myself to Him.  Yet with all the modifications to my devotional time, I couldn’t hear Him.  After many days of silence, I finally experienced a breakthrough.

Learning to Press in

In Secrets of the Secret Place, Bob Sorge shared his insight into my situation.

Many of us feel like we move in and out of God’s throne room. We have times of great connectedness, and then we suffer periods of disconnectedness. We can’t always analyze exactly why a  distance has developed in our hearts toward the Lord, but most of us feel like our relationship with Christ is a roller coaster ride of feeling close, then far, then close, then far, then close again. In and out.  And we hate it. We were created for constant intimacy and anything less drives us crazy on the inside. It is at those times that we need to press into God like you never have in your life! Allow the desperation of your soul to help you pursue God with absolute abandonment.  

God’s periods of quietness were an invitation to draw closer to Him—to “press in.”  More than proximity, He desires to establish an intimate friendship with us that is walked out through the course of our everyday lives. He is not looking for a segment of our day nor a day of the week.  He desires unbroken communion with us.  So on those occasions when it appears that “you can’t hear God”, press in!  Be of good courage for He is ever near (Ps. 73:28).  Press in!  Eagerly and unabashedly pursue Him, the Pearl of Great Price (Matt. 13:46). Press in!

SELAH:  Read Psalm 63:1-8.  Write in your journal the ways that David “pressed in” to God during his time in the wilderness.  Read the text again using a different translation or paraphrase.  Then ask the Holy Spirit how He wants you to “press in”.