Daily Archives: April 29, 2011

The Strength of the Weak

Psalm 125:1 (ESV)

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,

which cannot be moved, but abides forever.

The opening lines of this Psalm do not say that those who have put their trust in God to save them from their sins are like Mount Zion, but those who trust in the Lord. There are many believers who have trusted Christ to save them from the just punishment for their sins who nevertheless do not trust Him for their daily needs and struggles. There is both a logic and lack of logic to this. Logically it can be said that they have trusted God to do for them what they know it was impossible for them to do for themselves. They knew they could not make themselves right with God. They knew that dealing with sin was too big a task for them so they sought out Christ to do it for them. When it comes to paying the bills, rearing their children, behaving like Christians at work, well, these are not impossible things for them to do so they do not rely upon God for them. They rely upon their wits, their common sense, the latest Christian guru’s latest book on how to live life. They do a host of things which amount to them trusting themselves rather than God. Kind of makes sense.

The lack of logic in this is that they are trusting Christ to do great big things – make them right with God – while believing at the same time that God cannot, or will not, get them out of their current pickle, which, compared to what Jesus has already done for them is very small indeed. They seem to reason that God can do the big but will not come to our aid for the small. It is almost a form of deism. God has done the work of saving us and now He leaves the living up to us. Don’t bother Him with the details.

What the opening lines of Psalm 125 are telling us is that those people who consciously rely upon God in their daily lives have a strength that those who do not rely upon Him, do not have. In other words, those who think that they do not need God in their daily living, even though they acknowledge Him for their eternal destiny, will waiver and not have the strength they need to handle life when it gets tough. Those who know they are weak, that without Jesus they can do nothing and therefore rely upon Him in everything, will be stronger to handle life. This is the universal teaching of the Scriptures.

When we are weak, then we are strong. God’s power is made perfect through weakness. Gideon’s army is too big for God to work through because the people will think they won because of their superior numbers. God chooses the second son, Jacob, over the first son, Esau. Jacob is a lying, conniving schemer who gets taught very hard lessons to bring him to a state of helplessness that glorifies God. See the list of those of those who knew that all their strength was in God and God alone in Hebrews 11.

Then we get to the New Testament and find that God’s ways do not change. Jesus chooses ignorant fishermen, a hated tax collector, a political zealot, doubters, liars, egomaniacs … You know, people just like us. They talked tough (“I will never deny you!!”) but they performed weakly (“I never knew Him!!”) and learned that this was not about them. How is it that God changed the world through such a bunch? “They who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion”. They did not trust themselves. They believed God could do through them what He had promised (Matthew 28:18-20). They never drew attention to themselves. They believed God’s way and will were best. They were ready to die rather than put things into their own hands.

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. It is time for us to leave our baggage at the door and go through our lives empty handed and trust Him. It is time for us to stop grumbling about how weak we are and trust the One who is strong. It is time for us to stop trying harder and harder like the little engine that could, and realize that we cannot. Then and only them will we stand and accomplish. Not because we could but because He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think. Because when we are weak, then we are strong. And when He does use us and our efforts actually result in some fruit, let us be very careful not to give the impression that it was we who did it.