Genesis 3: 1 - 6, Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?" And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'" Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." So when the woman saw that the tree was good... NKJV
Where was God while Satan was in the garden tempting Eve? Where was God while Satan was afflicting Job? He was and still is present in His Word. Didn't God give them specific instructions concerning what they should eat and the tree that they were not to partake of in the garden? Therefore, God was present with them, but in Word form. He wasn't physically with them because He wanted them to trust in His Word. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the WORD WAS GOD!" If they had the Word in their hearts, then He was in their hearts with them. However, they could only know this by faith. The same applies to us. If we have the Word in our hearts, then God is with us... though not in a physical, tangible way. Therefore, we must believe that He is with us through faith. Why must we believe? Jesus, the Word incarnate said, "If you have seen Me, then you have seen the Father."
If we hide the Word of God in our hearts, then it is with us when we need it. Now, if Satan can get us to doubt the Word, or be hearers of the Word and not doers, then he can use this to his advantage. David wrote a psalm to the Lord; in it he declares a truth that we all must know and practice as children of God. He proclaimed, "Your Word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against it." If the Word isn't hidden in our hearts through obedience, then we can fall prey to temptation and sin against His Word. It is very obvious that Adam didn't keep the Word that God spoke into his hearing because he didn't keep the serpent out of the garden, nor did he stop Eve from eating the fruit. He was standing beside her while she looked on the fruit, took the fruit from the tree, partook of it, and gave to him and he ate. Since they didn't bother to obey God's commands, the Word of God wasn't in their hearts. This opened the door for Satan to bring doubt into their hearts. If we separate ourselves from God by ignoring the Word of God through the act of omission, we will begin to feel as though God has somehow forsaken us...although He has promised us that He will never leave us, nor forsake us in both the New and Old Testaments. Let's look at an example of where it seemed as though God just didn't care about someone and allowed them to die without any help.
When Lazarus died, Jesus waited four days to return. Martha chided Him for His negligence. She was angry at Jesus because He had ignored her request for Him to come in person and heal her brother. Why didn't Jesus come to heal Lazarus while he was sick? Why did He ignore Mary and Martha's request and allowed their brother to die and lay in a tomb for four days? The answer has been there all this time. However, apparently we've been so distracted that we missed it like they did that day.
John 11: 11 - 15, These things He said, and after that He said to them, "Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up." Then His disciples said, "Lord, if he sleeps he will get well." However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus said to them plainly, "Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him." NKJV
Jesus didn't go to Lazarus' tomb so that He might cause the disciples to believe in Him once Lazarus was raised from the dead. Jesus used a "death" situation to teach His disciples (and us) to have faith in His Word, to use His Word in the same manner that He does, and to expect the same results. When we live by the Word and activate the power of God's Word in our death situations, the Word will reassure our hearts through faith that God is with us. We might not be able to see or touch Him, but He is just as present, powerful and real.
Romans 10: 6 - 11, But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?'" (that is, to bring Christ down from above) or, "'Who will descend into the abyss?'" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame." NKJV
Are you living by faith through obedience to God's Word? If you're not abiding in His Word through active faith, then you will give a place to the enemy to cause doubt and unbelief in your heart. We don't need Jesus in the flesh in order to have a victorious life. We already have Him in our hearts when we believe and obey His Word on a daily basis. With God all things are possible.
God Has Been Here All Along,
Pastor Asa Dockery