Strength in the LORD

Today we conclude our sermon series on the Book of Psalms. We laughed, we cried, but one point should stand above the rest: God remains in control! We see it throughout the Psalms, be it a penitential, royal, messianic, praise, imprecatory, wisdom, or lament psalm. God is our strength during times when we struggle to find any. David was certainly considered a strong man, both physically and spiritually. But even he – a man after God’s own heart – chronicled his weaknesses and his reliability on a “power greater than himself.”

The word that comes to mind as I studied the Book of Psalms was strength. According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, “strength” (or its variants) can be found 108 times in the Book. For example, Psalm 46:1 assures us that “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” In 68:28, David asks God to “summon your power…show us your strength, O God, as you have done before.” If your “soul is weary with sorrow,” God can strengthen us according to his word” (119:28).

Joshua was given the enormous task of following in the footsteps of Moses as leader of Israel. God almost immediately tells him – three times – to “be strong and courageous” along his journey. The strength of which God speaks is not necessarily physical strength. Physical strength is useful in many ways, but without the divine relationship, it only takes you so far (Goliath, for example). God instructs Joshua to not be afraid, “for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” (1:9).

It seems counter-intuitive to gain strength from relying on someone else. After all, we’re strong and independent people! “I can do it all by myself,” we like to claim. That’s a fine attitude to adopt, but aren’t there times when you, quite frankly, can’t overcome a challenge on your own? There’s a reason the very first step in Alcoholics Anonymous is “admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.” No one likes to admit defeat. But when admitting defeat leads to a belief in a Savior who paid a debt he did not owe because we owe a debt we cannot pay, then isn’t that really a victory?

We can’t “do it all” on our own. I don’t know about you, but I need Jesus Christ to help me get through each and every day. The strength and courage he displayed at Calvary give me the strength I need to not only endure a difficult time, but even to embrace it. Because I know it is at precisely that moment when Christ is closest to me.

In His Name,

-Matt

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