I Have Been With You Wherever You Went

Those words were spoken by the Lord to David. We read them in 2 Samuel 7:9, when the Lord is telling Nathan what to say to David in response to his desire to build the Lord a house.

Thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be a prince over my people Israel. And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name…

2 Sam 7:6-9 ESV (emphasis added)

When I read that this week, I got jealous. Not because the Lord cut of all David’s enemies and mine are still around (although, now that I think about it…) No, I read that and thought about what it would be like for the Lord to relay the message to me that He has been with me wherever I’ve gone. How much would that encourage me to know? And by “encourage,” I mean it as actually that, to give me courage. Don’t you wish the Lord told you that?

Actually, He did.

I no sooner had that thought then my mind made the connection: He already did tell me that! Several times, in fact.

Today I’m going to do something different. Rather than cite Bible verses and offer some commentary, I’m going to leave you a few passages to look up. I encourage you to look at one passage below each day for a week. I left a day open for catch-up, or a pat on the back for knocking them all out. Look up the passage; reflect on it, use it to feed your prayers to God (thanksgiving, praise, etc.); and maybe jot down any thoughts you have about the passage.

Feel free to drop me a comment on your research and how this exercise may have helped your time with the Lord.

  • Isaiah 41:10-13 _______________________________________________
  • Isaiah 43:12 __________________________________________________
  • Matthew 28:20 _______________________________________________
  • John 14:18 ____________________________________________________
  • John 14:26 ____________________________________________________
  • Hebrews 13:15 ________________________________________________

The truth is, if we think of the promises of God’s presence to Israel, and apply them to His People today; and the over-and-over again promises of our being “in Christ” in the New Testament; and God’s many promises of His unending regard for us, there are dozens of verses we can recall where the Lord is speaking to us the very same truth He spoke to David, “I have been with you wherever you went.”

A Man Like No Other

Any of you who know me know that I am passionate about influencing people to read the Bible. Why am I so insistent? Because that is the only place on earth to find real answers, real truth. People can look everywhere–all kinds of religion, spirituality, self-help books, humanistic philosophies, and plain ol’ pop culture trends, but all of those will fail you. I guarantee it. They will fail you either in this life (which is better) or when you reach the next (which is eternally and unchangeably worse). We must go back to the Bible. Here’s an example…

When we read the Bible thoughtfully, carefully, amazing things will leap off the page. I have read the Gospel of John dozens of times, maybe 100 times. I really don’t know. But I read it again recently and discovered something I’d never seen before. Look at the progression of who Jesus is perceived to be in John’s Gospel, Chapter 4:

First he is observed to be, “a Jew” (4:9) (One of a great multitude)

But then, “A Prophet” (4:19) (One of an esteemed few)

Third: “The Christ” (4:29) (One unique and foretold individual)

Fourth: “Savior of the World (4:42) (This, to me, points to his being God himself)

Also, imagine how amazing Jesus must’ve been to see and hear. After only two days, the townspeople in that area of Samaria came to a staggering conclusion. They didn’t think Jesus was simply a Jew.

They didn’t simply esteem him to be a prophet.

They weren’t merely convinced he was the long-awaited Messiah, the Christ.

No, even greater than that, to a man and to a woman they concluded after being with him some 48 hours that this Man had to be none other than the very Savior of the World.

What ordinary man could have that kind sway over people?

Jesus had no army. No technology. No clever slight-of-hand or gimmicks with which to trick them. He did not have so much as the fiery zeal and wilderness presence of John the Baptist to captivate his audience.

This Man did not travel with the awe-inspiring pomp that comes with descending the presidential stairs from an Air Force One.

The Scriptures say he wasn’t even strikingly handsome! “He had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.” (Isaiah 53:2) It wasn’t like a Brad Pitt in his prime came to town to wow and woo. This was a man so nondescript and unimposing that children gave no thought to running up to him. This was a man so ordinary looking that on the night of his arrest, when the Roman soldiers came to Gethsemane, they had to be tipped off as to which man standing before them they were to seize.

He had none of that. All he had was himself.

And He was Everything.

“In him was life, and the light was the light of men…full of grace and truth.” John 1:4,14

There were only ever two reactions when Jesus came into a town. In the area of the Gerasenes (Gadarenes), where Jesus cleansed the demoniac, we’re told, “Then all the people of the surrounding county…asked him to depart from them…” (Luke 8:37). Likewise, in a different village in Samaria Luke records their very different reaction, “the people did not receive him…” (9:53).

The same is true today. Every person who has ever heard of Jesus arrived at some conclusion about him. He was a myth. He was a man. Or, like these Samaritans, by the enabling of the Spirit in their lives, they see his power and see for themselves that he is, “indeed the Savior of the world.”

Here’s my question then: Who is Jesus to you?


Help, I’m Reading Leviticus!

Have you ever said that? I’ll admit, I have. After the fast paced excitement of Genesis and the first half of Exodus, the narrative in the Pentateuch slows down as the Lord instructs Israel about building the tabernacle and its instruments, creating the priestly garments, consecrating the priests, and then (in Leviticus) the laws themselves. It’s tempting to skip over those seemingly irrelevant passages (and, later, the genealogies), but that’s not wise. All of God’s inspired Word is, “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16 ESV). So, how can we be faithful to the Lord and his Word? As I was recently struggling again with this myself, I have some ideas.

Remember the Three C’s

[Ed. Note: About five or six years ago I wrote the below essay. It’s included in my book. (Would it be wrong to link to it here? I don’t know. I don’t want to be annoyingly self-promoting. Tell you what…I mention it on the Our Story page and there’s a link there, if you like.) Anyway, here are some thoughts and then below this I’ll post some further thoughts I’ve had since I first wrote this.]

Some Christians avoid the Old Testament. They feel as lost in the Bible as I did in the North Georgia Mountains. For them it is unfamiliar territory. When I talk to some people about reading the Bible, one response I get is that the person started reading in Genesis, but gave up by Leviticus, only two books later. I’m reading Leviticus now in my own Bible reading plan, so I think about those folks as I make my way through it. It can be a bewildering landscape if you have no idea what you are reading, or why it is in the Bible. There are three ideas I keep in mind when I read Leviticus:


Consider the context of the book. Here are over a million people who, until recently, were slaves in Egypt for over four hundred years. God delivered the Israelites out of Pharaoh’s cruel Egypt with his mighty Hand. Famously safe on the other side of the Red Sea, God leads them into the Sinai wilderness, en-route to the Promised Land. The children of Israel are learning to live not just on their own, but as new nation literally and miraculously birthed out of another and specially chosen to live as God’s chosen people. Leviticus is a book of laying down crucial ground rules and learning to follow the Lord.


The rules and regulations presented to the priests and the people signify something more: Being wholly devoted to the Lord. The word “holy” literally means, “to be set apart, consecrated.” Every other nation around them was steeped in pagan idolatry. Every other nation on earth veered hard away from God (really ever since Genesis chapter three). But God was doing a work, a much bigger work than they knew. They were to be wholly devoted to him. Impurity, idolatry, and iniquity were not going to be tolerated. Israel was to be wholly holy. They were to be the special, chosen, representative people of Yahweh. Yet, God knew they would sin. In his mercy he prescribed the means to seek forgiveness for their sins, which brings us to…


In Leviticus chapter 9 we see the first animal slaughtered for the sins of the people under these new rules of priestly intervention and atonement (hence the term “Levitical priesthood”). Over the next thousand-plus years millions of animals would be slaughtered to atone for the sins of the people. Yet none of those sacrifices, individually or all together, could truly take away the sins of the people. To use the question from the old hymn, “What can wash away my sin?”

The answer in the song is the answer of the Scriptures: Nothing but the blood of Jesus. All the sacrifices pointed in vivid picture form to the one great sacrifice that would one day come. Jesus, the Lord himself, as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” would be the perfect one- for-all sacrifice for sin for those who would be saved from their just punishment.

R.C. Sproul tells the story of when he first started teaching the Bible as a college professor. Students would say to him, “Oh, Professor Sproul, you make the Bible come alive for me!” Aware that they were trying to compliment him, he refuted their words. “Look, I can’t make the Bible come alive, because I can’t make anything come alive that already isalive!” He said to them, “There’s nothing wrong with sacred Scripture. What you’re noticing with my animation and my excitement is my response to the Scriptures… The Bible makes me come alive, rather than my making the Bible come alive!”4

That is a great testimony to the value of studying the Bible. Regular Bible reading and study literally is walking alongside God. The Holy Spirit knows the way and delights to lead us. When we follow him he points out all the beauty and truth along the way.

My 2019 Thoughts

I still agree with the above. I’d also add a briefs Do’s and Dont’s:


  1. Remember the burden it was on every Israelite to try and keep these laws
  2. Remember Lev 20:7-8 as the theme verses of the book; all of this was for God’s people to be holy (separated) to him.
  3. Remember that over and over again, in detailing the necessary sacrifices for sin, the lesson is the same: The wages of sin is death (Rom 3:23). Sin has consequences, and they are always awful.
  4. Remember that Jesus, who did the impossible, fulfilled these laws for us, most ultimately in becoming the perfect and final sacrifice for sins
  5. Thank and praise God you and I are no longer under the weight of these impossible laws


  1. Skip over Leviticus. Don’t skip over the dry passages of Scripture. In his wisdom the Lord chose to put them in there for his good reasons. Trust him about that. Obediently do your part and read them.
  2. Take audio version shortcut. If you can read it, read it. Don’t take the shortcut of listening to the audio version. Saints of God have been both challenged and blessed by reading it for literal millennia. Submit under the opportunity to be sanctified by doing the hard things. In this Christian life reading through Leviticus will probably be the least difficult thing the Lord will require of you in your sanctification, trust me.
  3. Zone out with a “does not apply to me” attitude. I’m not saying you need to memorize which sacrifice goes with which occasion, but don’t just let your eyes scan the page and move on. Use the Do list above to help you engage thoughtfully with the text.
  4. Don’t forget that every paragraph, every sacrifice, every command to be pure and perfect…all of it points to Jesus. All of it glorifies him. He is the great fulfillment, the pure and perfect hero Lamb of God, and Prophet, Priest, and King.

Have ideas on how to more enjoy reading Leviticus? Share in a comment below.