by John M. Frame
We saw before that Lord connotes God’s power, authority, and presence. Let us now consider his presence. Scripture teaches that God is everywhere; nobody can hide from him (Psm. 139:7-18). But his presence is more than that. It includes God’s commitment to us.
The “I AM” (Ex. 3:14) says “I will be with you” (3:12). The Lord promises to be with Israel as he delivers them from slavery. So he takes a people to be his own: “I will be your God, and you shall be my people” (see Gen. 17:7, Lev. 26:12, 2 Cor. 6:16, Rev. 21:3-4). They become his family. Sometimes singles out his own people for special judgments (Amos 3:2); but the Lord’s main purpose is to bless his people– beyond anything they can imagine.
The chief blessing is the Lord’s own presence. He was with Israel in the tabernacle and in the fiery cloud that led them through the wilderness. After they sinned, the Lord offered to let them go to the promised land without him. Moses protested, “if your presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here” (Ex. 33:2, 15). God relented and went with them. Canaan, with all its milk and honey, would have been worthless without the Lord himself.
All this is fulfilled in Jesus. He is “God with us,” “Immanuel” (Isa. 7:14, Matt. 1:23). He is God’s tabernacle with his people (in John 1:14, “dwelled” means “tabernacled”). When Jesus died, God did not leave us; rather, he was with us in the most profound way: bearing our sins, bringing us perfect forgiveness. So if you know Jesus as your Savior and Lord, God is with you always, to the very end of the world (Matt. 28:20).