Daily Devotion - Tuesday, March 15, 2016
7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. 8 They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.
- Psalm 20:7-8
One of the interesting things that you find in the Bible is that God seems to have a preference for the underdog, the outcast, the second-best. After all, the entirety of the Hebrew Scriptures is filled with history, poetry, prophecy and legal writings that are all focused on God's covenantal relationship with a tiny tribe of people, who often found themselves on the losing end of things, or who were more often than not being threatened or persecuted in some way by the powers-that-be.
So, when you're a tiny tribe of people, without a great deal of power, the idea of standing up to massive empires, or rival tribes who've banded together against you is a frightening proposition. Time after time throughout the story of the ancient Hebrew people we see moments when they are being threatened, and they decide (against God's will) to throw their lot in with other tribes and other nations, and it never ends well.
In the lectionary readings for this final week of Lent, we find Psalm 20:7-8, which offers a different approach. "Some trust in chariots and some in horses," the psalmist writes. When you are a tiny tribe of people, who often find yourselves on the losing end of things or being threatened by more powerful tribes or empires, it would be all too easy to want to put your faith and trust in military might, in chariots and horses. The psalmist offers a different approach, however: "...but we trust in the name of the Lord our God."
Every time we think that we can solve all of our problems on our own, we quickly find ourselves stretched to our limits, exhausted and overwhelmed. Meanwhile, the voices of our culture keep telling us that we deserve to win, we must win, but we can only truly win if we take matters into our own hands, try this new diet, read this book, adopt this particular look, rely on this method of leadership, trust this politician over that one...
As faithful people of God, and followers of Jesus, we are called to recognize our own frailty and weaknesses not as liabilities, but strengths. On our own we aren't all that formidable, but, when we trust in God, according to the Apostle Paul, "in our weakness, He is made strong." Additionally, we have to resist the temptation to place our faith in the chariots and horses of our culture, and rely instead on "the name of the Lord."
May you discover the power of the name of Jesus today as you lean on his strength, his way of living, being and doing in the world. May you find the courage to let the chariots and horses of this culture go and trust that God will strengthen you and lift you to all new heights. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.
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