Making God’s Strength Your Only Strength

Without God’s strength, we are all weak. Maybe you don’t agree with that statement, but it is true. If you are only depending upon your own physical, emotional and mental prowess, you will eventually fall under one of the weights the world will throw at you. And there are many.

Previously, I wrote about finding the strength of Jesus. In Christ’s victory over death and the grave there is no weakness, only strength. It is greater than any power or strength you can build on your own. Actually, it requires our weakness to be present. It seems we only invite the strength of God into our lives when we come to grips with the truth of our personal weakness.

In Psalm 18, David wrote an incredible description of the strength of God at work in his life. But before that, he started with one incredibly loaded sentence. Learning the power of this sentence helps us receive and recognize God’s strength as our only strength.

What is this powerful sentence? It is verse 1 of Psalm 18:

I love you, LORD, my strength.

In the Bible I’m currently using, this line is a stanza all by itself, a separate thought before David goes on to describe Heaven’s unmatched strength. When I see this line all by itself, I can’t help but wonder if David wrote this first sentence, and then stopped for a moment.

“I … love … You, Lord … I love You … LORD … my strength.” Did David stop and worship right there? Was this the thought he woke up with that day, a thought with the power to inspire the rest of this psalm?

An Unlikely Confession

Now, it’s one thing for someone who is weak to confess the Lord as their strength. After looking at the state of their body, mind, heart, or troubling situation, they are going to call on Almighty God to act on their behalf. They know they need Him to bring and be strength in their time of need.

But this was David. He was a king and a warrior. David is famous for defeating giants, slaughtering tens of thousands of his enemies, and subduing nations. Before becoming king, David served in the court of King Saul. Saul became jealous and furious with David and wanted to kill him. As David ran for his life, he realized he forgot to take any weapons with him, so he stopped to get the one weapon no one would refuse him.

David asked Ahimelek, “Don’t you have a spear or a sword here? I haven’t brought my sword or any other weapon …”
The priest replied, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, is here; it is wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you want it, take it; there is no sword here but that one.”
David said, “There is none like it; give it to me.”

David was no skinny teenager. He was strong. Don’t forget how he also fought off lions and bears. Goliath’s armor was made of bronze and weighed 125 pounds (about 58 kg), and the iron point of his spear weighed 15 pounds (just under 7 kg). His sword would have been long and heavy. David went running into the wilderness with this giant’s sword tucked into his belt.

So when this warrior claimed the Lord as his strength, he made a statement very different from those who have no strength left. David recognized God his true Source, his only strength.

A Greater View of God

Later in their history, the people of Jerusalem thought they were utterly unconquerable. It wasn’t because their walls were so thick or their army so fierce. They believed God would never allow them to be defeated because they had the two greatest “good luck” charms in the world: the Ark of the Covenant, and the Temple.

God is no lucky “rabbit’s foot.” He isn’t an automatic blessing to hide the rest of our lives. Imagine the people’s despair when Jerusalem was conquered and burned, the riches of the Temple taken to Babylon, and the Temple itself pulled down.

David a had a much greater view of God than this. The Lord was his banner, sure. But God was Someone far more special than a blessing genie. He was Jehovah, the LORD, the one true God. He was Creator, sovereign, the only One deserving of honor and praise.

[tweetthis]#God is no rabbit’s foot or blessing genie. He is the only true God, worthy of honor and #praise.[/tweetthis]

And more than all of these, David recognized that God was worthy of his love. Before David looked to God to be His strength, he loved Him.

As I read the surround psalms, I hear David’s love for God. David cried out for help and God helped him. He depended upon God’s strength and was grateful when God moved on his behalf. He was able to trust in the working of God’s power, even when he couldn’t see it moving, because he loved God regardless.

It is true that God’s “grace is sufficient” for us and His “power is made perfect in [our] weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). It is only through our weakness that we allow God’s strength to fill us. It is good to seek and cry out for His strength, for that strength is glorious. Maybe we need to experience more of God’s strength to learn how to rejoice in our weakness.

[tweetthis]Maybe we need to experience more of #God’s #strength to learn how to #rejoice in our #weakness.[/tweetthis]

Still, we have to be careful to consider God as being greater than some “good luck” charm. God’s strength is great in our weakness, not because He has to be, or because we are deserving of it. God moves on our behalf because He loves us. And His desire is for our love and devotion to Him.

Before you look to anything God can or has done for you, will you love Him? Is your cry, “I love You, Lord,” before you ask for anything from Him? To love God is to be so deeply connected to Him that He could never leave or forsake us. With Him always with us, His supernatural strength is with us, too. And then we are more than conquerors.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Romans 8:31–32, 37, NIV)

 

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