The Promise of Presence

A promise.

Several generations passed.

400 years of captivity.

40 years wandering the desert.

The Promised Land in sight, then out of sight, then in it again. Amazing victories. Devastating losses. Seasons of sin. Periods of rejoicing and serving the Lord.

Finally, the death of Moses. It wouldn’t be long. All they’d waited for was about to be realized. The promise they’d clung to their whole lives, generation after generation was about to come true.

Tomorrow, Joshua said, God would do wonders in their sight.

Tomorrow came.

Not with battle cries or conquering. Not with settlement or recognition from anyone outside. We have no records of trumpets sounding or angels singing or any other fanfare. As with many moving days, excitement was mixed with the practical aspects of relocating. It came with memories of the last massive move: out of slavery.

Tomorrow came by entering the way they exited- on dry land. God, in a moment, had a river stand still and pile up in a heap so that His people would visually see what had always been: God makes the way.

They entered after Him and crossed over before His presence.

Their feet stood, at long last, on the Promised Land.

Tomorrow came and went.

It was still days, months even, before the land was officially claimed, in the sight of all people, as their own. There were still wars to be fought and victories to be had in the name of the God Almighty. The land had still to be divided, people would need to stake their claims and build their homes. All of the establishing was left to do.

The past was behind, the promise was the present.


God stopped a river in their sight to remind them of who He was and where He was in the midst of the move and the promise: present.

Sometimes we look for the big victory. The recognition and affirmation that we have indeed arrived. We crave establishment and full authority. Our idea of promises realized looks big.

God wants us to know the promise that He will always be with us is realized every day. Click To Tweet

God makes a way so that we might recognize, in knowing and following Him, a present far greater than the promise. We live in the presence of the promise-maker and promise-keeper.

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37 Replies to “The Promise of Presence

  1. I love tracing the history of God’s strong promises and His unfailing presence in the midst of His people — even when they did not act like His people. I’m reading in Jeremiah right now and feeling his grief over their waywardness. God’s infinite patience is amazing.

    1. Me too, Michele! I’m up to Isaiah right now reading through Scripture chronologically and somedays I’m grieved by Israel’s waywardness, many days by own tendency to wander and wane. But always awed by His patience, faithfulness, and lovingkindness.

  2. “We live in the presence of the promise-maker and promise-keeper.” I want to be more appreciative of getting to live in his presence every single minute. It is a special gift and not one to be taken lightly! Thanks for sharing this, Bethany.

  3. “God makes the way”. Yes and amen! I love meditating on that !! What comfort received, what courage gathered, what confidence secured when we remember that foremost. Thanks for this beautiful reminder👍

  4. It always gave me pause to read that when God parted the Red Sea and the Jordan River- they walked across on dry land– not muddy like you think a river bed would be… what power is God’s alone! Amen! Thanks for this reflection today– and I had never made the connection that they entered the promised land the way they left captivity- through deep waters… Awesome ♥

    1. So exciting, isn’t it Heather?! I’ve been reading through Isaiah and several times over God assures He will be with His people through deep waters still. Such a gift!

  5. Great post! Love your last point: “God wants us to know the promise that He will always be with us is realized every day.”

    How come we always forget that?

  6. Thanks for your post. 🙂 This reminded me of Oswald Chambers — When he died, the telegram announcing his death to his friends said simply: “Oswald – In His presence.” As he lived, so he died – recognizing that every moment he was in the presence of the Living God.
    Visiting from #HeartEncouragement

    1. I so appreciate Oswald Chamber’s writing- thanks for sharing that fun fact. I love it and I’m thankful for that continuity- always in His presence!

  7. One of my favorite attributes of God is that He is personal. It means everything. Thanks for your article about His presence. One of my all-time favorite books is “Experience His Presence” by Frank Laubach and Brother Lawrence. If you haven’t read it, it’s has a modern rendition along with Brother Lawrence’s experience. Holler if you need a link. It’s powerful!!

  8. I have to say it is amazing how God reminds us of how he is in the midst of things and reminds us that he is faithful.

  9. I loved walking down memory lane with you. God promised and delivered. Two very good things to remember. The pictures you included were gorgeous. I pinned one. I hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

    1. Aw, so glad the pictures blessed you too! I love images blended with words about the Lord : ) Thanks for joining me on this stroll! He is faithful!

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