a valiant effort

So David had been having a rough go with the Arameans and Edomites. They were warring. Eventually, David and his army defeated them. As an aside, those locations are currently inhabited by Syrians and Jordanians. Interesting, no?

Anyway - David was a warrior, poet, shepherd, king. He was under the covenant God had made through Moses to the nation of Israel: Obey Me, I will bless you as no nation on earth. Reject Me, and I will bring judgement upon you that will make the world cringe. Pretty simple. Until you throw human nature into the mix.

Psalm 60 is a poem/song that David wrote about that time. It begins with a plea to God for restoration and salvation.

"O, God, You have rejected us, You have broken us; You have been angry, O, restore us"
"Save us with Your right hand, and answer us!"

God answers by reminding David that He is the one in control.

"In triumph I will parcel out Shechem and measure off the Valley of Succoth. Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine, Ephraim is my helmet, Judah my scepter."

Alright - that may not make a lot of sense, but Shechem and Succoth are on either side of the Jordan river. Gilead was in the same area. the land of the tribe of Manasseh straddled the Jordan and next to the Arameans. Ephraim was one of the most secure tribes due to its location, and Judah would rule the nation, hence the scepter. God is telling them, "I already have this taken care of. I know who and where you are, who and where the bad guys are: Trust Me."

David answers a few verses later with this:

"Through God we shall do valiantly, And it is He who will tread down our adversaries"

And now to the point.

Did you catch the subtle difference in what David said and what, say, most people would say?

I would want to say, "Sweet. Alright, we're going to kick some bad guy's in the teeth. Freedom!" and then I'd paint my face blue and run into battle - cue hero shot.

That's not what David says.

Through God we shall do valiantly. And it is He who will tread down our adversaries. Now, God didn't send down fire or hailstones. He didn't smash the Edomites with rocks or make the earth swallow them up. He could have, but He didn't:  He used David and his army to do it. They waded in and fought with swords and sweated and dodged and battled. They did it. God didn't wind up and throw a rock at Goliath, either. But he made that rock hit its mark. Why does he work like that?

He wants us to trust Him. And in trusting Him, depend upon Him.

David and his men trusted the Lord. They did the exact same action they would have done if they didn't trust Him. They fought. But with this difference: Through God, we shall do.

Walking in dependence upon God is not magic. It's rare that we cross the sea on dry land. Normally, you take a boat and ride out the storm with Jesus asleep in the bow. This is not us helping God. Not at all. It is God working through us to accomplish something.

I can teach a group of pastors or teach my kids to be kind all on my own, can't I? I can do the same actions in my own power and, even with the same results, fail, because I did it depending upon my own brain, abilities, and resources. Or I can do those exact same things in dependence upon Jesus and He will work through me. And will accomplish so very much more.

Galatians 2:20 says, in part, "...I no longer live, but Christ lives in/through me..." That is stunning in it's reality. Christ lives in us.

The Pre-Existent Creator, who holds all things together, lives in my body. I don't understand how. I just believe the Bible. And it says Jesus lives in me.

And that I can trust Him. That through Him, I shall do valiantly. Wow. I would have far greater success in the things that matter if I let Jesus do it. Instead I sully through the mud and champion my failure to good effort.

Silly, isn't it?

David understood that without the Lord, we're toast. But living dependently, Him living through us, we're valiant and victorious. What a contrast.

1 comment:

Jim said...

Good thoughts - and timely - I was just listening to that Psalm this morning. :)