Key Verses: “May the LORD our God be with us, as He was with our fathers; may He not leave us or forsake us, that He may incline our hearts to Himself, to walk in all His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His ordinances, which He commanded our fathers.”
—I Kings 8:57,58, New American Standard Bible
I Kings 8:54-61
A PROFOUND THOUGHT and blessed notion is supplied in the phrase, “that He may incline our hearts to Himself.” God will actively incline our hearts to obey all his ways, commandments, statutes and ordinances. This is of incalculable value in the Christian’s life. Paul echoes this idea: “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:12,13, NASB) We note from the Apostle’s words that God works in us to will and to do his good pleasure if we obey and work together with him. Thus is provided a definitive statement regarding God’s commitment to us.
Another assurance of God’s fidelity towards us is found in these words: “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you, so that we confidently say, The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me? Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.”—Heb. 13:5-7, NASB
The assurances to Christ’s Church that she will never be forsaken reaches a high point in these words of Paul: “If God is for us, who can be against us? He that did not hesitate to spare his own Son but gave him up for us all—can we not trust such a God to give us, with him, everything else that we can need? Who would dare to accuse us, whom God has chosen? The judge himself has declared us free from sin. Who is in a position to condemn? Only Christ, and Christ died for us, Christ rose for us, Christ reigns in power for us, Christ prays for us!” (Rom. 8:31-34, J. B. Phillips New Testament) Truly, if God and his Son Christ Jesus are for us, no one can condemn us—not even ourselves, because we leave the judging to God.
On Mars Hill in Athens Paul appealed to the common people regarding God not being aloof or distant from them. “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist.”—Acts 17:24-28, NASB
We praise our Heavenly Father and rejoice in his presence with us. For those yet in ignorance of him, we look forward to the time when they too will “find Him,” knowing that he is “not far from each one of us.”