Intermediate Edition

I.  Basics


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Chapter 17  Part I


This section looks at some basic factors underlying God’s interaction with his people. They show that God’s relationship with his people is not an aloof, impersonal one – far from it. God is always with his people and they can actually know him. Complementary to this is God’s great love and steadfast faithfulness towards his people. Undergirding all God’s interaction with his people is his truly amazing grace.

God Is Always with His People

God and Jesus Christ are always with their people

[God:] Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.   Joshua 1:5b ESV

[Jesus:] And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.   Matthew 28:20b NET

Note that most of what this and the following chapters in Part D.  God and His Own People say about God is also applicable to Jesus Christ.

God is with his people wherever they go . . .

Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.   Joshua 1:9b ESV

. . . God also goes before his people

The Lord himself will go before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forget you. Don’t be afraid and don’t worry.   Deuteronomy 31:8 NCV™

God is with his people in trouble – and sees them through it

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble.   Psalms 46:1 GW

[God:] When you pass through the waters, I am with you; when you pass through the streams, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not harm you.   Isaiah 43:2 NET

God Knows His People

God and Jesus Christ know their people

The Lord said to Moses, “I will do this thing also that you have requested, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.”   Exodus 33:17 NET

[Jesus, speaking of himself as “the good shepherd”:] He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. … 14“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me – …   John 10:3b, 14 NET

In Exodus 33:17, “I know you by name” indicates: intimate knowledge – “I know you very well” (GNT, NCV); and a personal relationship – “I know you personally” (AMP); “you are my friend” (NLT, cf. CEV). A similar comment could probably be made regarding the like expression in John 10:3b.

God and Jesus know all their people’s needs and troubles

Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.   Matthew 6:8 NET

[Jesus Christ, to the church in Ephesus:] I know the distress you are suffering and your poverty (but you are rich). I also know the slander against you by those who call themselves Jews and really are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.   Revelation 2:9 NET

God Loves and Is Faithful to His People

God loves his people greatly

[David, to God:] You are good to us and forgiving, full of constant love for all who pray to you.   Psalms 86:5 GNT

Wicked people have many troubles, but the Lord’s love surrounds those who trust him.   Psalms 32:10 NCV™

God’s love is with his people always

[God, speaking of David:] My steadfast love I will keep for him forever, and my covenant will stand firm for him.   Psalms 89:28 ESV

God’s love is “steadfast” – constant and reliable.

God is faithful to his people

The Lord always proves faithful and reliable to those who follow the demands of his covenant.   Psalms 25:10 NET

God faithfully keeps his promises to his people

Not one of the Lord’s faithful promises to the family of Israel was left unfulfilled; every one was realized.   Joshua 21:45 NET

God Shows Grace to His People

What God does for his people is based on his “grace” – his free and undeserved favour. God’s grace in the believer’s salvation is discussed earlier (cf. We are justified and made righteous by God’s grace, through Jesus Christ – not by law; We are saved by God’s grace rather than by works). This section speaks of the ongoing role of God’s grace in his people’s lives.

God shows much grace towards his people

[Paul, to the Corinthians:] And in their [needy believers’] prayers on your behalf they long for you because of the extraordinary grace God has shown to you.   2 Corinthians 9:14 NET

Here Paul speaks of God’s grace in moving the Corinthians to generously give towards supporting needy believers.

By grace God’s people are given spiritual blessings

Out of the fullness of his [Christ’s] grace he has blessed us all, giving us one blessing after another.   John 1:16 GNT

By grace God’s people are strengthened

[The writer, to believers:] Do not let all kinds of strange teachings lead you from the right way. It is good to receive inner strength from God’s grace, and not by obeying rules about foods; those who obey these rules have not been helped by them.   Hebrews 13:9 GNT

Pray for persecuted Christians