06/23/21 In Whose Strength?

READING: 1 Chronicles 20-23, John 20:19-21:25

David, the king of Israel, was quite the victorious warrior.* He defeated people after people, doing so because “the Lord gave David victory wherever he went” (1 Chron 18:6). But, then Satan got involved and enticed David to take a census of Israel. The purpose for the king’s census is not clear, but the fact that Joab reported the “fighting men” (1 Chron 21:5) in David’s forces certainly implies that David wanted to know how strong he had become. He who had previously recognized that God was his warrior had now determined that he and his own forces had become the warriors. His dependence on God had turned to self–dependence; victory from the hands of God had become arrogance in the human heart. God then plagued the entire nation for David’s sin. 

You and I are no different than David. When we’re young in our faith, all we know to do is trust the Lord to fight our battles. We lean heavily on Him, believing that we cannot take a step without Him. After He grants us some victories, though, we gain a bit of confidence in our spiritual abilities. We add our training and our experience, and we become convinced that we can fight our own battles. 

If you don’t think that’s the case, consider our most common prayer pattern: we fight our battles first, and then turn to prayer only if we must. That’s self-dependence. That’s being our own warrior. That’s risking God’s judgment.   

PRAYER: “God, help me to depend on You alone.”

DAILY ACTION STEP:  If needed, confess to God your tendency to operate in your own strength. 

TOMORROW’S READING:  1 Chronicles 24-26, Acts 1

 *a version of this devotion was first published on this site in 2016

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.