Despite a full slate of social activities, and all the socializing opportunities available on line, many people are lonely today. It is a growing problem among all age groups. Being lonely has nothing to do with being alone. One can be alone and not be lonely, or with a large group and experience extreme loneliness. Adam was lonely in Eden before sin entered.
The only one that can really remove loneliness is God. In fact, one of His names in the Old Testament is Jehovah Shammah, “Jehovah With Us” or “Jehovah is Present.” It is used in the last verse of Ezekiel (48:35). The Jews have been taken into captivity but God is promising them a future time in the land when everything will return to Garden of Eden conditions and God and man will again dwell together.
God has been present with His people in the past. He was with man in Eden, with Noah and his family in the ark, with Daniel in the lion’s den and with his friends in the fiery furnace. In the New Testament He was present as Jesus. In Isaiah 7:14 it is prophecied “A virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” This was fulfilled in Matthew 1:22-23. Notice the ‘el’ ending of Immanuel. It is ‘God.” Immanuel means “God is with us.” Jehovah Shammah means “Jehovah is with us.” Different word but same meaning. Jesus was God present among man.
But what about today? God the father is always present (Philippians 45) for He is omnipresent. He protects us with His angels. Jesus promised He would be with us always, even to the end of the world (Matthew 28:20). Even more so, the Holy Spirit is present in each one of us (John 16:7). God’s presence IN us is much better than if He were still alive on earth and living AMONG us. There is no way of being more present than living inside us!
In the past God was with man. In the present He is still with us. In the future it gets better yet, for He will be physically present with us forever (Acts 1:10-11; Revelation 22:20-21). When we die we immediately go to His presence and stay there forever (Luke 23:43). We don’t have to die to be in His presence, though. At any moment Jesus could return and take us to heaven to be with Him forever (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). However it happens, we will be in God’s presence forever.
Jehovah Shammah, The Lord is Present/With Us. He is always with us and always will be. He is before us (Isaiah 48:17), behind us (Isaiah 30:21), to the right of us (Psalm 16:8), to the left of us (Jon 23:9), above us (Psalm 36:7), underneath us (Deuteronomy 33:27) and within us (1 Corinthians 3:16). God is indeed present with us!
No other religion has a God who is present with them. The only other power in the universe that seeks to be present in people is Satan through his demons. So these are our options: be totally alone, have demons present in our lives, or have God present. There are no other options. Thank God that He wants to be present with us!
Another thought: while heaven is heaven because of God’s presence, hell is hell because of the absence of God’s presence. The difference between heaven and hell is God’s presence. Think about all the difference God’s presence makes! Thank Him for it.
BIBLE STUDY ASSIGNMENT
While the name “The Lord is Present” comes from Ezekiel 48:35, the concept is true throughout the Bible. Name some times in the Bible when God was present with His people? Think carefully and name as many times as you can, in the Old and New Testament.
List some times when you experienced His presence in your life in a very real way?
What difference would it make if God were not a God who was involved with His people, if He were distant and uninvolved?
(If I can answer questions or offer personal counsel, or if you would like a free copy of my Spiritual Warfare Handbook, email me at Jerry@ChristianTrainingOrganization.org or download it from http://sw.christiantrainingonline.org/. My next book, Spiritual Warfare in the Bible, which is a more advanced treatment of spiritual warfare, is also available there for free.)