Psalm 108:11 Have you not rejected us, O God? You do not go out, O God, with our armies. 12 O grant us help against the foe, for human help is worthless. 13 With God we shall do valiantly; it is he who will tread down our foes.
The description of this psalm in the NRSV is “praise and prayer for victory”. It’s written by King David, who had great success during his life. You’ll remember David as the shepherd boy who dared to take on Goliath with a slingshot and a few rocks. Then when he became king he led God’s people into battle, despite being far outnumbered on the battlefield. Under David’s leadership, the Israelites became a nation that others feared. One would think David might be tempted to take credit for this success, get a big head. But he didn’t, “for human help is worthless”. David understood that every victory or success was because of God’s favor and blessing – not his own skill or capacity.
My entire life I’ve had a fairly strong sense of confidence, perhaps (as a younger man) even arrogance. I’d like to think I’ve grown past the arrogance part, but others might challenge me on that. Nevertheless, one could say I was raised to be that way, as were my brothers. Winning. Succeeding. Achieving. These were important expectations in my family of origin. And, for the most part, I believe we lived up to those expectations.
However, this mindset became a problem once I moved into spiritual leadership in the church. Why? Because success in this arena of life depends on the Lord, not on me. It’s not that I have no role to play, but I am not the key to success or failure. As David writes in v.13 “With God we shall do valiantly…”. When God leads the way, victory is ours. When we lead the way, it generally doesn’t go well.
Question for myself this morning “Am I letting God lead the way or am I trying to do it in my own strength?”
Lord, this morning I ask for the kind of humility I read in David’s writing. He was very clear on where his hope rested. It rested in you, holy Father, not on himself. Give me grace to live likewise. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.