One of the greatest promises given to the Christian has its roots way back in the Old Testament the promises given by the Lord Jesus in Matthew 28 v 20 'lo I am with you always'.
A promise from the Living God that whatever the circumstances He will be right alongside His children never leaving or abandoning them to their own devices.
Weak men have been made strong in the confines of this promise, weary folk have been refreshed under the reality of this promise and battle hardened people have been renewed through the application of this promise.
Moses is the first character to look at who received the promise in Exodus 4 v 12 where Moses in the desert refers to the fact that he is not eloquent so who will listen to him 'I will be with you' says the Lord.
I wonder how often this phrase 'I am not eloquent' has been heard coming from the lips of folk seeking excuses to keep silent when the Lord wanted them to be bold in the battle?
Then in Exodus 13 v 21 the Israelites on their journey to receive the promise given to Abraham and ratified with Moses the Promised Land, a short journey took 40 years because this people would not walk forward to receive the promise.
The truth was the 'Lord went before them' but behind but in front of them in the 'Pillar of cloud' a clear visible and frightening sight to the nations they walk through.
Amongst them was Joshua and Caleb walking closer to Moses and the Lord than most and the same promise is given to Joshua as to Moses in Joshua 1 v 5 'I will be with you'.
Moses journey and witness is almost over in Exodus 33 v 14 but what a terrific interview he has in v 11 'Moses face to face with the Living God' weary from the long journey Moses seeks refreshment for his tired mind and body.
So the Lord comes personally to minister to him 'My presence will go with thee' v 14 but there is another fact brought out in chapter 33 v 'I know thee by name' the personal aspect of the promise is revealed.
It is a fact that the presence of the Lord was with Moses as He was with the whole nation the big difference is the nation took God for granted whilst Moses knew the intimacy of relationship through the promise.
There is a massive difference between seeing God in the midst of His people and knowing the intimate communication with Him as Moses and Joshua did.
Now there comes to me three words about the communication that these men needed and that we surely need today wisdom, knowledge and discernment.
Wisdom is the true insight into things, seeing things from Gods point of view rather than settling for our own limited blinkered view.
Moses had a tremendous problem with the rabble of people leaving Egypt and crossing the desert because they all wanted to express their point of view rather than listening to what the Lord had revealed to His servants.
Joshua has a similar difficulty as the land was split up into tribal regions each tribe seeking to be where they wanted to be but the truth was Joshua broke it up with the pattern that God had given to Moses.
The second thought is that of 'knowledge' that is the experimental understanding of what God desires and wants obedience to.
There is a big difference between what I think is right and what God says is right, we look through blinkers at scripture instead of launching out in the knowledge gained through communion with the Lord.
How often we run into an Achan situation of deception or a Jericho walled obstacle and wilt under the human knowledge when we can know the decisive will of God on how to tackle them.
Human knowledge can be sharp and bright but it is the knowledge from Gods point of view that reveals the flaws in our limited knowledge.
The third thought is that of discernment that Gods presence reveals to us, the ability to separate the right from the wrong, to be able to investigate and examine the issues correctly from Gods view.
We make many a rash decision because of our limited knowledge on issues but we do them in the light of our knowing what we think is right.
What we need is the presence of God with us so that through divine communion He will give us the true insight into affairs so that our judgement is according to His will and purposes.
Now here is a terrific challenge for our life how much time do we spend in holy communion with the Lord so as to receive, wisdom, knowledge and discernment?
We need to beware of human cunning and fleshly deception here because very few of us are living close enough to the Lord to reveal His mind on issues.
So for the closing thoughts for the promise that is revealed in Matthew 28 v 20 'Lo I am with you always even to the end of this age' spoken by the Lord Jesus to His children.
Several facts are brought to mind that we can ponder over so as to make the promise ours so that we can live a life of victory and mastery over the wicked one.
First as with Moses then Joshua then the early disciples and finally with us the conscious presence of the Lord was intended to be realised.
Not a theory to ponder over, not even a desire to think about but the reality of the Lord consciously living and working in the life of the recipients of the promise.
Moses and Joshua enjoyed the literal presence in the cloud that went before them the early disciples like us have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us so that His presence goes with us all the time.
The fact that we are not conscious of His presence depends upon our communicating and communing with Him regularly.
Then the thought of the constant presence of God being with His children, in Exodus the Pillar of Cloud put fear in the surrounding nations and put joy in the hearts of the children of God.
The fact that as the Pillar moved forward so did the people and when it stood still the people stayed where they were until fresh orders to move were given.
The disciples soon learned to operate in the same way as the Holy Spirit gave them utterance, they moved according to the revealed will and purposes of God.
They soon realised that God was as close to them in prison as He was outside of it, that he was in the storm as in the sunshine, in the rough ass in the smooth.
Finally there is the confident presence of God going with us, we can go out to face the day knowing the assurance of Gods presence going with us and remaining with us.
The disciples were afraid of their future until light dawned on them of the promise of Jesus Christ
that He would remain with them and succeeding generations throughout time until He comes to collect us all for eternity.
We have the full assurance that the Holy Spirit dwells within us and is working in us as long as we are obedient to the word of God, the refining work is preparatory work for His return.
We can know experimentally the promise for ourselves by putting ourselves available to prove it through our daily experience of obeying Gods word.