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The Presence and Leading of the Lord

(Leviticus 26:11-13; Exodus 40:34-38; Numbers 9:20-23)

Lesson 5 -- fourth quarter 1999
October 3, 1999

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1999, Christian Light Publications

"I...made you go upright." I like the sound of that! And I like the picture it generates. Now that God is with me and at my side, I can stand straight and tall while I walk with Him. Why so? Because He has broken the bands of my former bondage. Because He does not abhor me. Because I am one of His people. Because He is the LORD my God.

"I...made you go upright." The blessing of this statement is very real to me. I have been through some very trying times in the course of the last year. I have struggled with failure, confusion and discouragement like I haven't in a very long time. In a certain sense, I have battled bondage and defeat to the point of being bowed. Now comes this lesson reminding me again to get my eyes off myself and on the Lord and His deliverance. It seems He says to me, "I want to make you go upright. Stand straight up again, Mark! Lift up your gaze. Look at Me. Look ahead. March, Mark!"

My friend, what has you bowed in bondage? The weight of the yoke and its strength do not matter. The Lord wants to bring you forth out of the land of Egypt, as it were, and away from a life of servitude to anyone other than Himself. He wants to break the bands of your yoke and make you go upright. Believe it! It is all true!

However, we cannot afford to bypass an important element here: you and I must want to part company with those bands and those yokes. That is correct. Before the Lord will move to break them all, we need to want Him to break them. And there lies one of the greatest difficulties in the whole process. You see, we tend to get quite attached to some of those attitudes, thoughts, habits and memories that have us bent over in bondage.

In the book of Exodus, one message from the Lord to Moses was, "My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest" (33:14). When God is with us and for us, just who can be against us?! Nobody. Nothing. Not even our own defeats, failures and shortcomings...and the bitter, discouraging memories associated with them. Sounds very restful, does it not?

Then let me remember that when I am again inclined to stray from His presence. Let me remember that when I get too busy for Him, for His Word and for His people. Let me remember that when I indulge the down feelings and the bad memories. Those are times to turn anew toward the presence of the Lord and away from whatever distracts from Him.

One other truth to remember: He does not abhor me. No matter the failure, no matter the weakness. If I have accepted and yielded to His presence, if I am set to follow His leading . . . He does not abhor me. The past (whatever it is) is past. The future is before me, the Lord is with me, and I . . . am at rest.

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