Psalm 54:4 Surely God is my help;
the Lord is the one who sustains me.
This basic understanding was at the foundation of David’s life. He went through a lot and he did a lot, but he was aware that it was God who got him through it all. As he wrote in Psalm 20, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” (Psalms 20:7) Too many of us get far away from that simplicity of faith. We think that doctors heal us or the government rescues us or we accomplish things purely by our own strength and ability, not realizing that it is God, and God alone, who makes all those things possible. The Greeks called that hubris, pride that denies the need for the divine. It’s interesting that they had the word before they had the Gospel, the news of the greatest help God ever has or ever could give to mankind. With the modern secularization of society it’s no longer fashionable to follow James’ instructions: “You ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’” (James 4:15) It used to be that people would add, “D.V.” to their plans when writing them. Those are the initials of Deus Volente, “if God wills,” in Latin. I have an Augustinian friar friend who does it even today, but it is certainly rare. Even Moses strongly cautioned the Israelites to “Remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth.” (Deuteronomy 8:18) Otherwise, they would be blinded by their own success, turn from God, and be destroyed. We need to pay more attention to David, Moses, and James even today.
I have certainly had my times of ignoring God, thinking that the abilities I have were independent of Him, and it has never turned out well. I am to be a faithful and active steward of all He has placed in my hands, but I am never to think for a moment that I could accomplish anything without Him. Even if “my arms can bend a bow of bronze,” I need to remember that “It is God who trains my hands for battle.” (Psalm 18:34) I am not to be cowed by any challenge, but remember that it is God’s power that will come through and not my own. I am to be careful to give God the glory for everything He does through me and help others understand that He can and wants to operate through them, too. That’s particularly important in the church, where so many want to leave everything up to the “professionals,” thinking they can’t really do anything. I think that over the years I have tended to do too much, not allowing church members to do things if I thought I could do them better. That’s just another face of hubris, forgetting that if God can use me, He can use them too.
Father, thank You for this strong reminder. Thank You that I won’t be preaching this Sunday, but allowing our recent seminary graduate to do so. Keep me from being judgmental about his message and/or his delivery. May I hear from You through him, and be the encouragement and mentor to him that he needs, so that this church may be built up as You desire and intend, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!