The Beautiful Assurance of 'I Will Never Leave You'

Tammy Kennington

Contributing Writer
Updated Aug 30, 2021
The Beautiful Assurance of 'I Will Never Leave You'

If you feel forgotten and unwanted, there are ancient words scripted for you to read from Deuteronomy 31:6. They read,“…he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

"I will never leave you."

Weary of the scenery and our stomachs hungry after a long drive in the country, my brother and I began squabbling. We might have argued about who had the most space on the seat or whose jacket belonged on the floor—it didn’t matter. We were tired and needed our afternoon naps.

The slow crunching of gravel beneath the tires ground to a halt when our stepfather slammed on the brakes and spun around in his seat.

“Get out,” his words, loud and angry, filled the car’s interior. Struggling to lift the door’s lever, I slid out of the vehicle—my brother following behind. I dreaded the spanking that was sure to follow.

The car’s wheels churned, and small bits of rock scattered in every direction. My brother and I, a toddler and a preschooler stood alone in the sunshine as the old Chevy grew smaller on the horizon. Our screams drowned out the call of mockingbirds, dust mingling with the wetness on our faces. We’d been left behind.

Maybe you, too, understand what it means to be abandoned. Perhaps you are walking through a divorce or you’ve lost a loved one to death. It could be that social-distancing restrictions have resulted in making you a modern-day recluse—unable or fearful of interacting with those you know and love. You aren’t alone in your aloneness.

According to recent studies, 25 percent of women and 30 percent of men report a personal sense of abandonment. Even prior to Covid, a staggering 65 percent of those born between 1997 and 2012 claimed to have been lonely.

If you feel forgotten and unwanted, there are ancient words scripted for you to read from Deuteronomy 31:6. They read,“…he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Speaking to Joshua before his death, Moses fortified his spiritual son with these words. Why? God was preparing Joshua for a season of warfare and battle. A season that required strength and courage. A season in which Joshua was advancing without his closest companion.

At times, Joshua must have felt alone—certain God had abandoned him. But Joshua clung to the beautiful reassurance that God “would never leave” him—even in the most challenging of circumstances.

We, too, can hold on to God’s promise—whether we are moving ahead or going in endless circles. Even if our most trusted earthly relationships falter or our inner circle becomes uncomfortably small, our heavenly Father reassures us that He is our constant companion.

What Does 'I Will Never Leave You Nor Forsake You' Mean?

Perhaps because He knew people would grapple with feeling unwanted and unloved, God etched the same words again in Hebrews 13:6, ‘God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” 

A closer look at this phrase reveals that the word ‘ano’ means “to let up or slacken” something that has already been “trusted or embraced.”

As believers in Christ, we have been adopted as God’s children. But our adoption is not temporal; it is eternal. God has embraced us as co-heirs with Jesus and we have His word that we are firmly in a grasp that never lets up or slackens. As embraced children, we are forever kept and protected.

A few years ago, my family and I were shopping at the local mall when I noticed a small child standing near the entryway of one of the shops. His eyes darted across the distance between various stores as if searching for someone. The boy’s small face puckered, and tears left tiny splotches on his striped polo shirt. In the rush of the crowd, the child had lost his mother.

Unlike an imperfect parent, God reassures us that He doesn’t make mistakes; He will never lose track of us, forget us, or worse—abandon us. The English word forsake, derived from the Greek enkatalipō, means to leave behind. To desert.

God drives this promise home by reiterating the word never twice. He will never leave you. He will never forsake you.

To an eternal God, never takes on an entirely different meaning.

What Does Scripture Say about God's Faithfulness?

Hebrews 13:6 is only one of many Bible verses that address God’s faithfulness. Others include the following:

But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one (2 Corinthians 3:3).

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23).

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments (Deuteronomy 7:9).

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23).

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart (Psalm 91:4).

But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness (Psalm 86:5 ESV).

The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he(Deuteronomy 32:4).

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

There are many others, some of which you can find here.

'I Will Never Leave You' - How Do We Know?

Even when taken out of context, these verses offer comfort and help us to remember that God will remain steadfast; He is the one constant in a life of ever-shifting circumstances. But when we study the words of scripture as part of God’s unfolding love story, His faithfulness becomes even clearer.

From the time Adam and Eve first sinned, God orchestrated a plan to free people from death’s grasp through the blood of Christ (Genesis 3:15). Despite their rebellion, the Lord was determined to rescue His first children and their offspring from sin’s consequences.

The Bible records God’s search and rescue operations throughout the centuries:

When the Israelites wandered in the wilderness, the Lord provided bread from heaven and water poured from a rock.

While a discarded wife wept in the desert over her son, the God who sees came to the rescue (Genesis 21).

Desperate and depressed, Elijah hid in a cave—certain he was the only remaining prophet of God. But the Lord called to the weary man in a gentle whisper, comforting and encouraging Him (1 Kings 19:10).

As Christ stood outside the tomb, He wept. Then, his friend emerged at the commanding words, “Lazarus, come out” (John 11:43). Death was overcome because He is faithful.

If you were to grab your Bible from the shelf and rifle through it, you would discover hundreds of other stories that demonstrate the Lord’s faithfulness to us. However, there is none more remarkable than the truth of Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection.

God stepped out of heaven’s glory, chose the life of a man, and embraced death to ransom the lost, broken, and abandoned. He seeks the rebellious and those who wander. He tends those who mourn and shouts life to those who are overwhelmed.

Abandoned? Not by God. Never. As a believer in Christ, you are firmly and forever held within His grasp.

Further Reading

Will God Never Leave Us Nor Forsake Us?

Why You Should Be Encouraged That God Will Never Leave You

"I Will Never Leave You Nor Forsake You" Meaning of God's Promise for Your Life

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/beerphotographer

Tammy KenningtonTammy Kennington is a writer and speaker familiar with the impact of trauma, chronic illness, and parenting in the hard places. Her heart is to lead women from hardship to hope. You can meet with Tammy at her blog where she’ll send you her e-book, Moving from Pain to Peace-A Journey Toward Hope When the Past Holds You Captive.

This article is part of our larger resource library of popular Bible verse phrases and quotes. We want to provide easy to read articles that answer your questions about the meaning, origin, and history of specific verses within Scripture's context. It is our hope that these will help you better understand the meaning and purpose of God's Word in relation to your life today.

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