The Closeness of God
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The Lord is near.
It can be easy to rush over short sentences in Scripture like the one found in Philippians 4:5: “The Lord is near.” Yet, oftentimes those short sentences provide a foundational truth and set up the words that come next. In this case, Paul followed up those words with: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to the Lord. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV).
The Lord is near. Pause and let that truth settle over you. Paul did. The Lord’s nearness brought him joy and peace and contentment, even while confined to a Roman prison and while under house arrest. While the Roman soldiers stood guard over Paul’s body, the Lord stood guard over Paul’s heart and mind. God gave him peace.
That’s not all the Lord’s closeness gave Paul. The Lord also gave him strength as he writes a few verses later: “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13 NIV). God’s grace sustained Paul no matter where God led him, even when Paul lacked material things or physical freedom.
The Lord is near all of His children, not just Paul. Scripture provides ample evidence of God’s closeness to His people and how He provides for them through His presence:
God’s nearness surrounds and defends us.
“For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him.” - Psalm 34:7 (NLT)
God’s nearness provides us refuge.
“But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge.” - Psalm 73:29 (NIV)
God’s nearness gives us rest.
“The LORD replied, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’” - Exodus 33:14 (NIV)
God's nearness saves us when we are hurting.
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” - Psalm 34:18 (NIV)
God's nearness gives us clear direction (and joy!).
“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” - Psalm 16:11 (NIV)
God’s nearness offers us eternal salvation.
“(for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God….Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant. Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. There he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” -Hebrews 19,21-25 (NIV)
Yes. The Lord is near to all of His children. He continues to stand guard over our hearts and minds. He faithfully leads us through our daily lives. Recognizing the power (and truth) behind that short verse written by Paul to the Philippian church gives us the strength and peace of mind to go where He leads. After all, the Lord is near.
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