“He has never loved less than a Father
And when his children’s lives come undone
He has never abandoned a daughter or forsaken a son
Not one, not one”
After listening to this song from Brian Free and Assurance titled “Not One,” I began thinking of some of the places in the Word of God where the phrase “not one” was mentioned in connection with how the Lord cares for His people. There were some Scriptures that really caught my eye, and will hopefully bring encouragement to my readers!
In these passages, we’ll see a nation held captive, a war, and a promise for the ones who may not feel their true value before God. In all three of these examples, we find two simple words that add depth and meaning to the text. Indeed, they offer us hope for our own times of spiritual warfare, captivity and times of discouragement. They are – not one.
The first mention of “not one” is found in Exodus 9:6. To set up the story, Moses is commanded by God to go to Pharaoh and say, “Let my people go!” Then, Moses was to tell the king of Egypt that if he refused to free the Hebrews, the Lord would strike the Egyptian livestock with death, but the cattle of Israel would remain alive. Well, we all know the story. Pharaoh didn’t let the people go and the Lord did what He said He would do – but let’s take a closer look at the wording of verse six.
“And the LORD did that thing on the morrow, and all the cattle of Egypt died: but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one.”
It specifically says “not one” of the cattle died! Take a moment and think of the position the Israelites were in: they were slaves in a foreign country, their masters gave them more labor on top of their already heavy work load, and to make matters worse, terrible plagues struck the land again and again. In today’s language – nothing was going right! Could you imagine living like that? I can’t, yet, it sounds a little familiar, doesn’t it? Indeed, those who are in Christ don’t belong to the land they’re living in – this world. Just like the Israelites didn‘t belong in Egypt – we are citizens of a different country! Israel was a nation held captive as slaves, which reminds us, that even though we are in Christ, our flesh constantly tries to pull us back into our old ways, and sometimes, we feel like slaves too! It’s hard work to be a Christian in this world! – and, we have plenty of “plagues” and vices that attack us every day. “Pet sins” that require more and more work to get rid of, and sometimes, it seems like we’ll never be free from them. Yet, thank the Lord, if not even a cow that belonged to a child of God died in Egypt because of His protection – He is able to protect and free us too! Hebrews 13:8 says that, “Jesus Christ, (is) the same yesterday, today and forever!”
Now lets go to Numbers 31:49. In chapter 31, the Lord commanded Moses to take 1,000 men of war, out of every tribe, to go in battle against the Midianites. If you read the chapter from the beginning, you will see that Israel won, but watch carefully what it says in verse 49…
“And they said unto Moses, Thy servants have taken the sum of the men of war which are under our charge, and there lacketh not one man of us.”
There it is again! Not one! Here, Israel was in a war with another nation, and verse 49 recounts what happened after Israel’s victory. NOT ONE man died in the battle – all made it through! Ephesians 6:10-18 tells us that we are in a spiritual battle against, “principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Verse 12) We are to put on our armor and fight! But wars are dangerous – people get hurt, even die. Sometimes families lose loved ones, or others have to live out the rest of their days with a permanent handicap. Those living in the war zone may have to move to a different city…or country. Lots of bad things happen in a war. At times, the spiritual warfare we fight is like that war zone: someone does something to hurt us and we are handicapped in that area of our Christian walk, sometimes the enemy chases us away from our very home, or a spouse becomes a Believer and the other partner leaves because of it. Wars are hard. But did you know that in the war we are fighting, we are guaranteed the victory through Christ Jesus? I believe that there will be a time in heaven when the Son of God will look over all the soldiers of the cross, turn to His Father and say, “There lacks not one man…” (We are ALL going to make it through!)
Our final verse is found in Luke 12:6-7. Here, the Lord Himself is telling His disciples the worth of His children through this example…
“Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.”
In his devotional, Out Of Egypt, Warren Henderson said this, “After the temple was erected, it was common for sparrows and swallows to build their nests in the heights of the sanctuary and even among the altars. The priests went about their duties without discouraging the nesting patterns of these birds. The birds enjoyed rest and safety in the House of the Lord…The sparrow is a most worthless bird; it doesn’t sing, it is not beautiful to look at, and there is very little meat on it to eat…the sparrow was a worthless bird that found complete rest in Jehovah’s presence. In Christ, poor miserable sinners also find significance before God.”*
In our sinful state we are just like those worthless birds! Isaiah tells us that our righteousness is as filthy rags – that means we’re not beautiful to look at! – And when we should be singing God’s praises we usually aren’t. Yep, we’re just like the sparrows. Nevertheless, the sparrows found a home in the presence of God, and we too, though really worthless, find shelter and a home in Christ. He has said, “ye are of more value than many sparrows.” In another place it says, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am there ye may be also.” – John 14:2-3 How much more value are we than sparrows? So much more that the Creator of the Universe is building us mansions! More importantly though, He wants us to be where He is!
Conclusion: If the Lord can protect a nation’s cattle, not forget about the least of all birds, and bring Israel through a war without one death – my friend, He can handle whatever burden, every problem and heartache that crosses your path. “He has never abandoned a daughter or forsaken a son – not one, not one!”
*Warren Henderson, Out Of Egypt (Port Colborne, Ontario: Gospel Folio Press, 2010), 365