Stand By Me!

Acts 23:11: "And not following the Lord stood by him, and said,
Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testify of me in Jerusalem,
so must thou bear witness also at Rome
."
Here we see that the Lord is standing by Paul.

We often find in the Word of God that same intervention from heaven in an hour of great crisis
and deepening trial.

I doubt if a father could ever experience more hurt than the hurt that came to Abraham,
when on Mount Moriah he raised the dagger to plunge into the heart of his son, Isaac.
As he raised that awesome dagger, a voice from heaven intervened.
An angel showed Abraham a ram of sacrifice, caught in a thicket, that would take the place of Isaac.

When Hagar was thrust out into the desert with Ishmael, her son, she hid him
that she might not look on his dying face.
An angel appeared to her and pointed out a fountain of water that brought life to her and her son.

The love and faithfulness of God is also found in the story of the prophet Elijah.
When the waters dried up and there was none on the face of the earth,
and when for 3 1/2 years the sky was brass and the earth iron,
God sent ravens to Elijah to feed him and to care for him.

We remember the three Hebrew children.
We remember how they were cast into the fiery furnace which was heated seven times more
than it was usually heated.
The king, who in a rage had condemned them to such a fiery death, saw them walking in the midst
of the fiery furnace, and a fourth walking by their side.
The form and the appearance of the fourth looked like the Son of God.
God had intervened.

Paul, who was almost torn apart by the dissension and the bitter prejudice of the Sanhedrin of the Jews,
said that the Lord stood by him and said, ";Be of good cheer, be of good courage."
Again, in Acts 27, in the awesome days of the darkening storm, Paul said,
"There stood by me this night the angel of God… saying, Fear not, Paul."

God is caring, loving, and is directing our lives day by day.
We are in His hands and He will see us through.
We see this comforting thought in all of the Scriptures.
Psalm 37 states, "I have been young, and now am old;
yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken,
nor his seed begging bread
." (Verse 25)

And Hebrews 13:5 God gives us the promise: "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."

God Stands By Us In Youth

Some often think that the faith of Christ is only for a mature person.
That is not so.
A young person can and does have trials, sorrows, and as many frustrations as an adult.
Their tears and heartbreak are just as real and touching.

When God says, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee,"
that is also addressed to the youth just as much as it is to any adult.

This is wonderfully illustrated in the life of young David.
He was unshaven and ruddy of complexion.
He was a youth, keeping his father's flock.

The young man was astonished when Goliath came out of the army of the Philistines
and blasphemed the name of God.
No man in Israel dared accept the challenge of that towering giant,
and when the boy David said, "I will face him,"
he was brought to the king, who said, "An unshaven youth, you?"

David replied: "When I was keeping my father's flock, a lion attacked the sheep,
but I protected them.
The same thing happened with a bear.
The Lord God who stood by me as I faced the lion and the bear is the same Lord God
who will stand by me as I face of this giant Goliath.
"

When the boy ran to face Goliath, the giant looked at him and said, "I am insulted!
Here I am a man of war, and you come out to face me
."
The lad replied, "You come to me with a sword, or spear, and a shield,
but I come to you in the name of the Lord God whom you have defied.
"

The rest of the story is history.
The young man, who had been practicing with his slingshot on the backside of the Judean wilderness,
placed a smooth stone in his sling.
Whirling it around, he let it fly, and the stone sank into the forehead of the giant.
And he lay defeated and dead on the ground.

God was with this teenager in the same glory and power as He is with adults.
"I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."

God Stands By Us In Our Adult Years!

That same beautiful promise goes with us in our years as adults.
God is with us as we face the fury of the day and the trials, tribulations, and the troubles of life.
So often when we think God does not hear our prayers,
and we may feel that the Lord doesn't know that we exist.

And we might ask if these things that overwhelm us are the manifestations of a loving God?
We might also wonder how God could hide His face and allow such turmoil and trouble to overwhelm us?
Some might wonder how could God, who says that He cares for me,
hide His face from such abysmal sorrows as I am going through?

But God is watching, caring, overruling, guiding, remembering, and loving.
The Lord God never forsakes His children.

There are many here who can say: "I have been through the storms,
but the Lord God was with me. I thank God that he has strengthened me
."
There is no trial that can overtake us but that God will give us the strength to bear it.
Out of the sorrows, the tears, and the disappointments will come a holy and heavenly blessing
that the Lord has prepared for us

God Stands By Us In Our Old Age And Death.

Our God who walks with us in the morning and in the noontide of life is the same Lord God
who will walk with us into the night, and into the eternity that is beyond.
God has provided something better for us.

A young pastor who was just beginning to preach was called to the bedside of an aged man
who was close to death.
And as expected, the pastor prayed for God to lay His hands of healing on this aged saint,
and to make him well.

In the middle of the prayer, the old man took his hand and put it on the hand of the young pastor
and shook it, and said, "Pastor, do not pray that.
I do not want to live.
My wife is gone, all my children are gone, all of my friends are gone, and I am here by myself, old and sick.

My Savior is on the other side, and I want to go to be with Him and with my loved ones.
Son, pray that God will release me from this life and take me home
."

This time the young pastor prayed:
"Lord Jesus, thy saint is imprisoned in this body of death and is longing to be set free,
and to be with Thee.
Lord, let him go.
Open the door, receive him to Thyself.
"
Soon after that, the Lord answered that prayer.

Charles Tindley wrote the song:
"Nothing between my soul and the Savior,
So that His blessed face may be seen;
Nothing preventing the least of His favor;
Keep the way clear -- let nothing between
."

He also wrote, "We Shall Understand It Better By And By."
He also wrote, "Take Your Burden To The Lord And Leave It There."

But out of all the beautiful songs he wrote, there is none that compares to this:

"When the storms of life for raging, stand by me.
When the world is tossing me like a ship upon the sea,
Thou who rulest wind and water, stand by me.

"In the midst of tribulations, stand by me.
When the hosts of hell assail, and my strength begins to fail,
O Thou mighty God of battles, stand by me.

"In the midst of faults and failures, stand by me,
When I do the best I can, and my friends misunderstand,
Thou who knowest all about me, stand by me.

"When I'm growing old and feeble, stand by me,
When mine eyes grow dim in death and
I draw my latest breath,
O Thou God of all the ages, stand by me.
"

The night following, the Lord stood by him, and said,
"Be of good cheer, Paul… thou must bear witness also at Rome."

That is God!
He never fails us.
He never forgets us.
He never forsakes us -- in youth, in adulthood, even into old age.
Our omnipotent, loving God stands by us.

Sermon adapted from several sources by Dr. Harold L. White