Sermon – The Lord has been with You (Deuteronomy 2:7 – 2:7) – Cornerstone Church Kingston
Plan your visit



The Lord has been with You series thumbnail
Sermons in series

Show all Down arrow 75 sermons

Spotify logo Apple logo Google logo

Ben Read photo

Sermon 45 of 75

The Lord has been with You

Ben Read, Deuteronomy 2:7 - 2:7, 26 December 2021

In our Boxing Day sermon Ben preaches from Deutoronomy 2:7. In these verses we see that real blessing is more than the good thing we enjoy but it is to be with God in his presence.

Deuteronomy 2:7 - 2:7

For the LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He knows your going through this great wilderness. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you. You have lacked nothing.”’


Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

Yesterday, we heard the Queen's speech to the nation. Actually, we're recording this before Christmas. So we've not heard it yet. But I'm banking on her mentioning Jesus at some point and talking about the hope that he brings to a dark world full of uncertainty.

Last year, actually, the queen's speech was the most viewed TV slot over the whole of the Christmas period. So blankety blank. The return of blankety blank had 5000000 viewers. Call the midwife. The Christmas special had 5500000.0 viewers.

But the queen's speech had over 8000000 viewers. So it's clear, isn't it? In times of crisis and uncertainty, we look to those of authority above us for comfort and leadership through difficult times. And to be honest, there's no 1 higher than the Queen of England. Is there?

Maybe even in the whole world. Terms of sort of seniority and importance. And someone who we look up to as an established, not never moving sort of authority over our lives. Well, this morning, we are going to hear the king's speech to us. And not just a king, but the king of kings.

What has he got to say to us in a dark and uncertain world? Does he have to say even to our queen? And this is his word to us today. It's from deuteronomy chapter 2 verse 7. The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands.

He has watched over your journey through this vast wilderness. These 40 years the Lord your God has been with you and you have not lacked anything. This is what Moses spoke to the Israelites as their time in the wilderness as that 40 years was approaching an end. And he's speaking to them as an encouragement. He's trying to remind them of God's blessing to them throughout this past 40 years in the wilderness.

And now, if you know much about the bible, you'll know that the Israelites grumbled a lot. They they didn't see the last 40 years as much of a blessing, I don't think. And I was thinking actually, we would probably be worse than them as much as we like to sit in judgment of them because we were grumbling when there was no petrol in the petrol stations. And yet, our cars were full of petrol still, and our fridges were still full of food and we were grumbling. But this is what we do.

This is what humans have always done. We equate blessing. We think God's blessing equals worldly comfort and peace. Rather than being in the lord's presence. That's what we think blessing is, worldly comfort and provision, petrol in the petrol stations, toilet roll on the toilet roll holders, instead of blessing being in God's presence.

So, the Israelites moaned in the wilderness. They said, oh, we remember the fish that we ate freely in Egypt along with the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic. If only we had died by the Lord's hand in the and of Egypt, they said, there we sat by pots of meat and ate our fill of bread. So they're remembering fondly the food that they enjoyed in Egypt. But actually, they've forgotten that in Egypt, they were slaves.

They were captives in the dominion of darkness. They there are actually no people at all. They had no tabernacle. They had no covenant with the living God. They had no sort of direction or meaning or purpose, they were exiles, and they were outside of the presence of God.

But yet, they had fish. And they had cucumbers. And that is what they would prefer. A smoked salmon and cucumber sandwich, over God. So, the word of the Lord comes to these grumbling moaning Israelites through Moses, and he says he says these words that we read.

The Lord your God has blessed you. He has blessed you. He brought you out of Egypt. Remember that? He severed the chains of slavery that for over 400 years bound your wrists and your ankles.

He'd cut deep into the flesh of the nation. He'd released his captive people from darkness. You were in a dark and hopeless situation and he brought you out into light and to freedom. Not only that, but then he adopted you as his children. He became a father to the fatherless.

He gave you his laws. He made a covenant with you on Sinai. Out of the whole world, He chose you to be his chosen, beloved, precious, covering people. You'd once been at the bottom of the pile stinking festering and rotting in Egypt, but now you're chosen. And sanctified priesthood to the world.

God has chosen you as as his prophets, that salvation might come to the gentiles through you. You've come from stinking Egypt to being the mouthpieces of the living god. You'd seriously still rather have your fish sandwich than all of that. But wait a minute, not only has he saved you out of Egypt, but he's even watched over your journey through this vast wilderness. In deuteronomy chapter 8, we read, he led you through the vast and dreadful wilderness.

That thirsty and waterless land with its venomous snakes and scorpions. So, yes, the wilderness was a dangerous place. And there was plenty actually to be afraid of. And there are things in our lives that are dangerous. I mean, we we send our children off to schools knowing that there are snakes and scorpions waiting there to devour them with wicked and false ideologies and well views, but the lord is not blind to our situation.

He sees every snake along the path. He sees every scorpion hiding in the bushes. He knows the difficulties that are around us today. And he knows the difficulties that we're gonna come across tomorrow. He knows because he watches over us and so he leads us.

Through this valley of the shadow of death. In Exodus 13, we read by day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of clouds to guide them on their way. And by night in a pillar of fire to give them light. So whether it was a cloud or a pillar of fire, God. Back then, as he does to us today by his word, he was leading his people.

Through this wilderness and never once did he sleep or slumber. These 40 years, the Lord your God has been with you. Says Moses. And you have not lacked anything. Every single day, every single day without fail, no matter what they came across, He was with them.

Now, the world would look at the Israelites. And their experience in the wilderness and say actually, they lacked an awful lot. They lacked a huge amount. They didn't have permanent homes. They didn't have any land of their own to cultivate or stick a flag in and say this is ours.

They never had respite from the harsh desert conditions. They suffered greatly in many different ways, but God says that they lacked nothing. Why? These 40 years the Lord your God has been with you. And you have not lacked anything.

The reason the wilderness is better than the smoked salmon sandwich is because the Lord their God was with them They have 40 years of God's love, God's protection, God's provision. God's presence is the best thing we can have in this life and the next. My my Spanish grandfather once said, The best thing about salvation is not liberty. It's the savior. The best thing about heaven is not eternal life.

It's the eternal life giver. The best thing about glory is the God of glory. So when God saved his people out of slavery, he gave them something far better than just freedom from captivity, far better just from respite from the chains and the whips, he gave them himself. That's why anyone who says, you know, I've been forgiven, so I can just do what I like now. It doesn't really matter God's gonna forgive me, has completely misunderstood the gospel.

We haven't been saved to do what we like. We've been saved for Christ. Our gospel is not freedom. Our gospel is Christ. Adam found that out for himself when he had access to the whole Garden of Eden.

Everything God had blessed the pinnacle of mankind with. He found that the whole garden is meaningless. If you are not right with God. And the Israelites came to learn this for themselves, so God once threatened to send an angel ahead of them. He was so fed up with them instead of himself.

He said, I'm gonna send an angel because if I go with you, I might kill you. And and the whole nation we're told mourned everyone mourned. And Moses begged, if your presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. In other words, there's nowhere in the world. Moses would rather take his people, even out of the wilderness, even if it was into a abundant provision and comfort and South smoked salmon sandwiches, if it meant God was not there.

Don't take us even to the best place on earth if you're not there. They knew that the presence of God is the treasure of this life. And if you had the whole world but not God. You would still lack everything. But if you had nothing in this world, like Israel in the wilderness, yet you had God.

You lack nothing. Jesus asked his disciples, when I sent you without purse bag of sandals, did you lack anything? Nothing. Was their response. Now, this was put to the test.

All of this was put to the test as Israel approached the end of their time in the wilderness. Moses dies, and a new leader Joshua is raised up by God to lead the people into the promised land. And as Joshua stood, Looking out at the bank of the River Jordan, which was fast flowing and swollen because it was in flood season. He's given this instruction by God to get ready to cross it. He says in Joshua chapter 1, Moses, my servant is dead.

Now then, you and all these people get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I'm about to give them. Now, picture Joshua here. He's standing at this river bank. He's got no boats at his disposal. The Israelites haven't been dragging boats around the wilderness for 40 years.

He's got no means to build a bridge across it. Who in Israel knows how to build a bridge or has the means or the tools or the equipment to do that. There's actually no safe or obvious way to get an entire nation across this dangerous river. But immediately, Joshua gives orders to the people to get ready to cross. Now what on earth is Joshua's confidence that this can be done?

Well, I think it's because of 1 tiny line that God says to him in the middle of these instructions which changes everything. He says this. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. He invites Joshua to look back in order to be able to look forward with confidence.

See how in the wilderness for 40 years, you lacked nothing because I was with Moses. So cast your eyes forward, so shall you lack nothing as you cross the Jordan and enter into the promised land because I will also be with you. That's the confidence Joshua had. He didn't actually know yet how God was gonna get them across the river. He didn't know that.

He doesn't actually find that until the day. But he believed he would be able to get an entire nation across this swollen torrent of a river. Because he looked back and he saw how God had been with them this far. Actually, through way more complicated and dire circumstances. And so he looked forward with the promise that God was gonna go on with them.

As I was with Moses, So I will be with you. I will never leave you nor forsake you. My presence will go with you and you will lack nothing. So what about us then? Now, we stand on the shores of 20 22 we're looking out across it, the wilderness of 20 20 and 20 21 are behind us, and there are gonna be more years of wilderness ahead.

And I don't really just mean COVID. Because even if all the COVID disappeared from the face of the earth, you would still find yourself in a sinful and wretched and broken world. So until we cross that final river of death ourselves, all the lord Jesus returns, we're gonna be in the wilderness. So what challenges lie before you, as you sit here on boxing day. Now, what torrent of water looks impossible for you to cross.

What's fast flowing and flooding before you that just you haven't got answers to. You don't know how you're gonna get across it. Well, the Lord invites you to look back. As he was with Moses, as he was with Joshua, as he was with the apostles, as he was with the early church fathers, as he was with the reformers, as he was with the puritans, as he was with those in our own congregation, who have gone on before us, as he was with those in our own families, who have gone on before us, as he was with them, so he will be with us. Jesus says surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

He is a manual, God, with us. We're living temples of the Holy Spirit. Christ can dwell in our hearts through faith. So whatever you've got this Christmas, or whatever you didn't get. Whatever pain or sorrow you are suffering at this time, whatever joyful memories you have made, this is the word of the king for you today.

Remember, you don't just have gifts Better than that, you have the gift giver. You don't just have comfort. In sorrow, better than that, you have the comforter. And you don't just have joy. Better than that, you have the joyful 1.

And when you have Jesus, when you live your days in the presence of the living God. Whatever else may come, whatever desert you find yourself in, you will find Ultimately, you have lacked nothing. My my grandfather preached this exact passage back in 2008. And really, I've just I've been so inspired by it. I've I've I've repreached a lot of it today.

But there's 1 thing that really stuck in in my mind when when I heard him preach his sermon. And bearing in mind, he loved the prophets and the apostles and the church fathers. They were his life's work. He loved them. And bearing in mind, he loved my grandmother who passed away the year or 2 before he preached the sermon.

She was his whole world. Bearing in those 2 things in mind, this is what he said. He said in heaven, I will see the prophets. I will see the apostles. I will see the church fathers and I will see my wife again.

But better and greater than all of these. I will see the Lord Jesus Christ. The presence of the father, the son, and the holy spirit is the best thing we can have in this world and the next everything else is sinking sand. So on the shores of 20 22, He invites you to look back in order to look forward and have confidence that he's with you today. These 40 years, the lord your God has been with you.

And you have not lacked anything. Let me pray. Father, would you forgive us when we look around us and we look at our lives and we we see a lack of something. We see a lack of petrol or we see a lack of fish or we see a lack of whatever it is. Forgive us when we look to worldly provision for blessing.

Thank you that in your words, you you you show us so clearly that the greatest blessing. The only thing that really counts at the end of the day is your presence and being right with you and living each day in step with you. Help us to look back and see how you were with your people, how you never once slept or slumbered and help us to have confidence therefore, you will go with us. You will be with us as the lord Jesus promised even until the very end of the age. And would that give us confidence today to live rightly, to live boldly and courageously for him?

We pray these things in Jesus' name, amen.

Preached by Ben Read
Ben Read photo

Ben is a Trainee Pastor at Cornerstone and lives with his wife Ceri who is a youth leader and helps run the women’s ministry in the church.

Contact us if you have any questions.

Previous sermon Next sermon

Listen to our Podcasts to help you learn and grow Podcasts