Sunday, October 16, 2011

Not By Might

1 Chronicles 16:11 

Look to the LORD and his strength;
   seek his face always. 

Isaiah 40: 28- 31  

Do you not know?
   Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
   the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
   and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
   and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
   and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
   will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
   they will run and not grow weary,
   they will walk and not be faint. 

Psalm 18: 28-29
You, LORD, keep my lamp burning;
   my God turns my darkness into light.
With your help I can advance against a troop;
   with my God I can scale a wall. 

Human nature proves that our strength is limited and finite.  We need food and drink, sleep and periods of rest, to sustain us.  These laws of nature that govern our bodies reminds us there is One higher than nature upon whose gifts we are ultimately dependent.  CS Lewis writes "God is the God of Nature, her glad creator.  It is He who sends rain into the furrows till the valleys stand so thick with corn that they laugh and sing.  He is the God of wheat and wine and oil" (Miracles, 184).  All the good gifts of nature, which remind us of our mortality and dependence, point us to the Giver who breathes life into us at the point of conception, and renews us each day of our lives with daily bread.  Martin Luther writes on the fourth petition in the Lord's Prayer:

God wishes to show us how He cares for us in all our need and faithfully provides also for our earthly support.  He abundantly grants and preserves these things, even for the wicked and rogues.  Yet, He wishes that we pray for these goods in order that we may recognise that we receive them from His hand and may feel His fatherly goodness towards us in them. 

Therefore it is not by our might that we stand.  God's Word speaks of our finiteness:  "as for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more" (Psalm 103: 15-16). However, with these sombre reminders comes a sure promise that God knows our tender frame, that he remembers that we are dust. And that in his steadfast love he calls on us to seek him so that we may receive daily refreshment when we grow weary from our faltering strength and the burden of sin that clings so closely.

Psalm 68: 9-10

You gave abundant showers, O God;
   you refreshed your weary inheritance.
Your people settled in it,
   and from your bounty, God, you provided for the poor. 

Jeremiah 31: 25

I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.

In the name of Jesus.  Amen. 

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