One of our most incredible comforts as Christians is that God will never leave or forsake us. God is always there with us no matter where we go or what we go through. Yet, several times, we read in the Bible that God did forsake the Israelites. Consider these verses in Deuteronomy 31.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (emphasis added).

Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)

In verse 8, Moses promised the Israelites that God would never leave nor forsake them, yet 9 verses later, God gave Moses this insight.

And in that day I will become angry with them and forsake them; I will hide my face from them, and they will be destroyed. Many disasters and calamities will come on them, and in that day they will ask, ‘Have not these disasters come on us because our God is not with us? (emphasis added)’

Deuteronomy 31:17 (NIV)

Did Moses speak out of turn? Did he lie? Why do we see an apparent contradiction here? 

Right before the Lord told Moses he would forsake the Israelites, he told him this:

And the Lord said to Moses: “You are going to rest with your ancestors, and these people will soon prostitute themselves to the foreign gods of the land they are entering. They will forsake me and break the covenant I made with them (emphasis added).

Deuteronomy 31:16 (NIV)

Then, the Lord said, “And in that day I will become angry with them and forsake them.” It might not be apparent, but there is a connection between the Israelites forsaking God and he, in turn, forsaking them. Later, in 2 Chronicles 15, we get this insight.

He went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you (emphasis added).

2 Chronicles 15:2 (NIV)

Again in 2 Chronicles 24:20, we read something similar.

Then the Spirit of God came on Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest. He stood before the people and said, “This is what God says: ‘Why do you disobey the Lord’s commands? You will not prosper. Because you have forsaken the Lord, he has forsaken you” (emphasis added).

2 Chronicles 24:20 (NIV)

Thus, we can see that the Lord will never leave or forsake us unless we forsake him first, so there’s no contradiction in Deuteronomy or elsewhere when we read that the Lord rejected the Israelites. 

Still, we know that even when the Israelites forsook the Lord when they returned to him with their whole hearts, he forgave them and was with them again. 

As we think about God forsaking the Israelites, we must realize that God doesn’t haphazardly do these things. That God isn’t fickle in his choices. Instead, God loves and respects us even when we don’t respect him. God allows us to make our choices even when those choices aren’t good for us. This is called free will.

Do you know God? God knows you, and he loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, and he wants you to know him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, freed from death, and live eternally with him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart and receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.