After completing the process of creation, God visited Adam and Eve everyday “in the cool of the day” to be with them. God desires to fellowship with mankind and have a close relationship with us – a bond of love and blessing. King David was amazed at this and exclaimed “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands” (Psalm 8:4, 6). For a human being it is difficult to understand the ways of God and His love for us to be with us.
God promised to be in our midst – LORD God promised to the Israelites “I will walk in your midst and be your God, and you will be My people” (Leviticus 26:12). This was in continuation of the “fellowship relation” established by God with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden after creation process when God met them daily “in the cool of the day” (Genesis 3:8). The basic aim of these meetings was threefold – to reveal Himself to them and teach them His ways; to guide them in “tending and care of the Garden” and exercising dominion over His creation and finally to bless the works of their hands.
Darkness was separated from the Light and mankind was supposed to dominate the same and live in the light of God’s Word rather than acquiring knowledge of the ways of darkness and the world. Sin not only allowed darkness to overwhelm man but also passed the authority over creation from mankind to Satan and his forces of darkness. Adam and Eve were to be the first witnesses of victorious living and latter when sin prevailed all over the earth, God chose Noah and his family to prepare the ark and urge people to shun evil and virtuous living. Next Abraham was chosen to know God and his generations were then to reveal this knowledge to the rest of humanity. This witnessing on their part was part of the process of passing on the revealed knowledge of God from one generation to another. God decided to be their God and declared the Israelites as His chosen people while promising to be with them and “walk in their midst” (Leviticus 26:12).
The aim of God ‘Walking in their midst” – After being allowed by Pharaoh the Israelites left Egypt and while they were near the Red Sea shore, Pharaoh led his armies to force them to return to slavery. The Israelites cried out to the LORD and walked “in the midst of the sea on dry ground” (Exodus 14:22). The Hebrew words translated as midst in “tavek” and it means ‘midst, middle, into, through, among, in between or centre’. If they walked into the middle of the sea, how could they be on dry ground? It is said that Nahshon, whose sister Elisheba was married to Aaron, the first High Priest and Moses’ brother, started walking into the sea while others were too scared to move. The waters rose up to his mouth, almost covering him, and then suddenly the sea parted and dry ground appeared miraculously. Nahshon’s grandson Boaz married Ruth, the Moabite widow, and their names appear in Lord Jesus’ genealogy (Matthew 1:4).
The same Hebrew word ‘tavek’ is used in God’s promise to walk in their midst but this is conditional –‘if you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments and obey them and revere My sanctuary’ (Leviticus 26:2-3). Through worship, prayer and meditation we step nearer to God and then He overwhelms us by completely enveloping us in His glorious protection and care. His walking in to our midst involves our taking the first step in faith and love and seeking Him to be our God and to reveal Himself to us to lead and help us into a holy life. But many times He tests our faith and allows us to reach a state of near drowning before pulling us out of the storms.
Results of God in our midst – Joseph was sold off as a slave to Potiphar, captain of Pharaoh’s guard and “the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a successful man;– And his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD made all he did to prosper in his hand” (Genesis 39:2-3). After Moses’ death the LORD blessed Joshua to be the leader of the Israelites and promised “to be with him wherever he would go” (Joshua 1:9). During the time of their crossing, the Jordan River was in spate, but the moment the Levite Priests carrying the Ark of the LORD entered the waters, the flow of water stopped and the crossed on dry land. Joshua decided to reconnoitre the defences of Jericho, the first town to be attacked by them, and was met by “the Commander of the armies of the LORD” – Lord Jesus Himself. Joshua humble submitted to His authority through worship and was blessed to receive plans for all places, including Jericho, for conquering them (Joshua 5:14). When the LORD is in our midst we are made successful in everything we do and this fact is visible to all others.
David was still a teenager when he fought the giant Goliath, who upon seeing him coming towards him with the shepherd’s staff, cried out, “Am i a dog that you come at me with a stick”. David did not respond to his curses but replied, “I come in the name of the LORD, and He will deliver you into my hands”. The stone that he threw sat Goliath using his sling was turned by God into a very potent weapon that pierced the giant’s skull and killed him (1 Samuel 17:45-46). King Jehoshaphat sought LORD’s protection from the oncoming armies of the three nations, Ammon, Moab and Seir. God revealed through His Spirit to Jahaziel, a Levite, ‘that the battle is not yours but the Lord’s’ and that “You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, who is with you”. The Israelites found only dead bodies of their enemies at the appointed location, for they had fought each other and not one was alive. Under the LORD’s protection Jehoshaphat and his people found “an abundance of valuables on the dead bodies, and precious jewellery, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away” (II Chronicles 20:15-16 & 24-25). Under LORD’s protection the attacker gets vanquished and the blessed receive great riches – earthly as well as spiritual leading to great faith.
Prophet Isaiah was commanded by the LORD to warn King Hezekiah to “set his house in order for you shall surely die and live” due to the body affliction. Hezekiah, on hearing the news, cried out to God and Prophet Isaiah, who had yet not exited the king’s palace, was told to inform Hezekiah that 15 years had been added to his life by the LORD (Isaiah 38:1-5). God revealed His statutes and commandments to His chosen people through the prophets but when sin abounded, God finally sent His Son to the world to speak directly to mankind (Hebrews 1:1).
Visible fulfilment of God’s promise – Prophet Isaiah received and declared God’s message about the Messiah and “His name will be Immanuel – God with us” (Isaiah 7:14). The Son of God, Lord Jesus, became man and walked amidst us revealing God to us through His words and deeds. Lord Jesus prayed to God the Father for all of us “who will believe in Me (Lord Jesus) through their (the disciples) word and blessed us with ‘the glory of the Second Adam that He had received from God the Father’ (John 17:20-22), that we may be one. God declared that He keeps a close watch over all and that “your walls are ever before Me” (Isaiah 49:16). Walls on one hand protect us from external enemies while inside walls cause divisions. With God amidst us the outer walls get strengthened while the divisive walls are pulled down, for His peace then prevails in our hearts.
The promise further gets fulfilled after Lord Jesus’ ascension in to heaven through the arrival of the indwelling Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Where God is His blessings essentially follow, and God the Holy Spirit blesses us with various gifts – of knowledge, wisdom, discernment, faith, healing, miracles, speaking in and interpreting tongues and of prophesy (1 Corinthians 12:7-11). The Light of God’s glory empowers us to fight the forces of darkness – the enemy that is without and within to make us conquerors in His Divine authority and power. The Holy Spirit becomes our Helper to lead and guide us where God then is not only in our midst but within us (John 14:26). King David declared “You have turned my darkness into light” (Psalm 18:28) and God blesses all believers in this manner through His Spirit. And this Spirit fills us with love, power and a sound mind, empowering us with self control. God within us then fills us with His love which then gets revealed to others through our good deeds towards them. God within then not only empowers us but helps us get transformed in to the image and likeness of His Son.
Final fulfilment of this promise – Lord Jesus while commanding the eleven chosen disciples to go and “make disciples of all the nations” revealed “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18-19). In heaven it was in answer to His prayer to God the Father, “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was” (John 17:4-5). The result was His enthronement again as God, the Son of God, with all authority while the dominion on the earth abdicated by Adam to Satan due to sin was reclaimed after defeating him on the cross and resurrection. And the Saviour then promises to the disciples, “I am with you always even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
Lord Jesus has chosen and called us to follow Him not to face the wrath of God but to bless us through justification and sanctification. The disciples faced a severe storm while the Lord was sleeping in the boat, and in panic they woke Him up. The Messiah stilled the storm but after rebuking them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith” (Matthew 8:23-27). His presence changes the equation in our lives, for then we act under His hand and in His authority and power. Who can then stand against us?
Simon Peter had spoken out in arrogance and in faith in his own ability to claim, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death”. But the Saviour well aware of the truth assured him, though Satan has asked for you to sift you as wheat, I have prayed for you. When the Creator prays for us, our faith remains steadfast even in great adversity (Luke 22:31-34).Lord Jesus became man to redeem us and even today “intercedes for us” to assure answers to our prayers (Romans 8:34). Since He is in us with the Holy Spirit, we become his Temple, the Temple of the Living God and He is our God and we are His people(2 Corinthians 6:16).
After the Day of Judgement, the Book of Revelation shows descent from heaven of the New Jerusalem and Apostle John heard a voice from heaven. The declaration was “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God”. Since God would be with mankind, there will be no darkness within and without for God’s light will fill them. The angel of the Lord further revealed that there will be no temple in New Jerusalem, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light” (Revelation 21:3; 22-23).
The process of creation of everything on the earth followed the appearance of God’s glory and ‘there was light’. God made ‘two great lights’, one for the day and the other for the night on the fourth day, while the creation process continued for the first three days in the light of Divine glory. In New Jerusalem also the same situation will prevail for “the Lamb will be its light” as He was in Genesis. When God is with us and in us to be our God, then nothing can prevail against us for the Lord takes charge and becomes our “strength and shield”. As children of God we become the most precious commodity on the earth and angels are then deputed to help and strengthen us when in trouble. Lord Jesus was compassionate with all and when He is with us, who can be against us prevail against us!