Archives for posts with tag: dependence

“Listen to me, you stubborn of heart,
you who are far from righteousness:
I bring near my righteousness; it is not far off,
and my salvation will not delay;
I will put salvation in Zion,
for Israel my glory.” ”
https://ref.ly/Is46.12-13;esv

God’s message to his own people who were slowly straying away from Him in pursuit of other so-called gods.

Their primary problem was that they had stubborn hearts.  The Complete Word Study Bible says that the word “stubborn” means in part: “When used to describe a person or a person’s heart, it normally refers to a strength independent of or opposed to God.”  So they had a strength that was independent of God and this led them into idolatry and away from God.

We need to watch carefully that we ourselves do not follow this same pattern.  Our hearts are prone to try to take over and go our own way and have a strength that is not dependent upon God because we do not like to be dependent people, even though it is in our best interest.

The amazing thing here is that, despite their idolatry, God will bring his righteousness near and his salvation will not delay.  What is this if not grace in action? God’s people don’t draw near to salvation, God brings salvation near.  This is exactly what transpired at the cross.

 

 

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But the number of bricks that they made in the past you shall impose on them, you shall by no means reduce it, for they are idle. Therefore they cry, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifice to our God.’” (Exodus 5:8, ESV)

I like the way the HCSB translates here: “They are slackers!”

Moses didn’t want to go be the leader whom God used to free his people from the evil clutches of Pharaoh.  He complained about it, but he still went.  He obeyed God who had promised to free his people…and things only got worse.  Not only did Pharaoh despise him, but the Hebrews themselves, for whom he was risking his life, they despised him also.

This seems to be the way that God works.  He puts us in a situation where it is obvious that he wants us, and then he seems to pull the rug right out from under us and make our difficult situation desperate.  It’s an interesting and unexpected [and for us uncomfortable] way to work, but it is God’s way.

Through the Bible Day by Day Devotional Commentary writes:

God’s way is to bring men to an end of themselves before he arises to their help. Our efforts to deliver ourselves only end in increasing our perplexities. The tale of bricks is doubled; the burdens augment; the strength of our purpose is broken; we are brought to the edge of despair. Probably this was the darkest hour in the life of the great leader. But from the obloquy that was heaped on him, he took refuge in God.

Moses went and complained about all this to God.

Then Moses turned to the Lord and said, “O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has done evil to this people, and you have not delivered your people at all.”” (Exodus 5:22–23, ESV)

We may fault Moses for his lack of faith, although honestly anyone in his position would have done the same, it’s one thing to be hated by your opponents, its quite another to be hated by your own people.  However, Moses went to the right place and he poured out his heart to God and he was honest.  You see this a lot in the Psalms.  I don’t think God was upset with Moses here, indeed, I think God wanted to bring Moses to this exact place because, in the end when the Israelites were delivered from Pharaoh, they would see that the work was all of God and not of themselves.

It seems like this is God’s aim in taking a difficult situation and turning it into a desperate one.  He wants to bring us to the end of ourselves so that when he works, we have no cause for boasting, only humble worship.

Save us by your might; answer our prayer, so that the people you love may be rescued.” (Psalm 60:5, GNB)

God loves his people. David believes this so strongly that he rests the security of God’s people on God’s love for them.  David does not turn to weapons or strategy or cunning or trickery as Israel faces the mighty forces of Aram and Edom, he turns to God’s love for his people.  If the people are to be rescued it will not be because of their might but because of God’s concern for those whom he loves.

This verse is a beautiful example of dependence upon the Lord. The people cannot save themselves, only God can save them.  Their own strength is not sufficient, only God’s strength is sufficient.  Rather than rest on their own war cry, they prostrate themselves before God and pray for him to sound his own war cry against their foes “that the people you love may be rescued.”  Israel will get the help that she needs and God will get the glory as his people depend upon him.

Are you in need of help, dear reader?  Prayer and dependence is the starting point.  There will come a time to work, but first we pray and depend.

And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people, and as he opened it all the people stood. And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.” (Nehemiah 8:5–6, ESV)

An extraordinary scene of devotion and worship.

The people request that Ezra bring the Book of the Law of Moses and read to them.  It’s important to remember that the Word of God was not accessible to the average Hebrew at this time.  Copies were few and far between and study of them was limited to only a select few, everyone else was too busy with life to be able to study and read the Torah.

Imagine the scene, Ezra opens the book and all the people stand to hear the Word of God read.  Ezra blesses “the Lord, the great God,” and the people answer back with the Hebrew words “amen.”  It’s a word that is used when the one(s) who speak it express the truth of an affirmation.  They are, in other words, echoing back to Ezra that God is indeed the great God.

Then everyone, Ezra, Nehemiah, and all those present, bow their heads and worship the Lord with their faces to the ground.  This was a very common form of worship and emphasized humility and dependence.

To me this seems like a little slice of what we will experience in heaven when all of the people of God, from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation, gather to express verbally together that God is indeed the great God, and then every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

 

You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You.” (Isaiah 26:3, HCSB)

Dependence on the Lord leads to trust which leads to perfect (BKC: complete/genuine) peace.

““Now behold, the sons of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom You did not let Israel invade when they came out of the land of Egypt (they turned aside from them and did not destroy them), see how they are rewarding us by coming to drive us out from Your possession which You have given us as an inheritance. “O our God, will You not judge them? For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You.”” (2 Chronicles 20:10–12 NAS95)

Jehoshaphat’s prayer as the armies of Ammon and Moab marched towards Judah.

This prayer is one of the best examples of dependence in the Bible.  The armies are mighty; overwhelmingly powerful.  Judah is helpless against such a great foe.  They have only one recourse, to pray to the Lord their God.

  • We are powerless
  • We do not know what to do
  • Our eyes are on you

Such dependent faith!

This is a great lesson for us as we try to live out who we are in a world that is increasingly arrayed against us.  We have no guarantees of conquering in this world, but we do have the promise that God is with us and will not abandon us.  We need to learn to have the dependent faith of Jehoshaphat.

““If disaster comes on us—sword or judgment, pestilence or famine—we will stand before this temple and before You, for Your name is in this temple. We will cry out to You because of our distress, and You will hear and deliver.”” (2 Chronicles 20:9 HCSB)

“We will cry out to You because of our distress.”  In which we express our utter dependence upon the Lord.

“You will hear and deliver.”  In which God works out salvation for us.

We get the help we need.  God gets the glory he deserves.

Jehoshaphat is dependent upon God’s help.  We are dependent upon God’s help. Utterly.  Dependent.