Dependence; March 23, 2023

Psalm 20:7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

Verses 6-8 were put to a catchy little tune several years ago, and I can’t read this without that running through my mind. That’s not a bad thing! One of the many blessings of music is that it can make Scripture much easier to remember, and indeed, it has been used as a memory aid from before the time most people were literate, much less having printed books. That said, the point of this verse is extremely important. Who or what we depend on makes a huge difference in our lives. We see that all around us all the time. A case that is currently in the news is the war in Ukraine. The Japanese for “chariots” is literally, “military vehicles,” and is precisely the term used for tanks – which Russia has relied on to very poor effect. However, this principle applies much closer to home for every human being. We all have moments when we realize that we can’t make it strictly on our own. That’s actually a very good thing, because acknowledging it will liberate us from the pride that is so deadly in separating us from our Creator. The wisest course is not to wait for moments of crisis, but rather realize from the outset that on our own we can accomplish nothing good, just as Jesus said. (John 15:5) As Asaph wrote in Psalm 73, our physical bodies will fail, but God is eternal. (Psalm 73:25-26) Young people can have trouble accepting that, but time has a way of catching up with us! The earlier we establish the Lordship of Jesus Christ in our hearts and minds, and our utter dependence on Him, the better it is for us and everyone around us.

Since I will turn 75 this year, entering what the Japanese health system classifies as “the latter period of old age,” this is very pertinent for me. By God’s grace I am in good health, but He allowed me to break my wrist the end of January, to teach me to rely not just on what He enables me to do but also on what He does through others. A major issue with my pastoral ministry and leadership through the years has been poor delegation, choosing to do things myself rather than getting other people involved. Pride has certainly been a part of it, but it has felt like my biggest motive was simple convenience. It’s just been easier to take care of things myself. However, that has had the negative effect of not training others in doing things, and is a direct violation of God’s plan for ministry, as expressed in Ephesians 4:11-13. I’m to be preparing others for “works of service,” not doing it all myself. Age may bring wisdom, but sometimes I’m very slow to learn! The day will likely come, and not too many years from now, when I will be largely dependent on others for almost everything. The sooner and better I learn to depend on God through others, the better off everyone will be.

Father, thank You for this reminder. And may I say, Ouch! I ask for wisdom and guidance in delegation. May I not fear asking others to do things, but rather rejoice that we are all dependent on You, and You work through each of us for the benefit of the others. May pride be banished indeed, and You alone be glorified as Your will is done, in and through me and those around me. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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