July 21, 2022
When You Can’t Figure Things Out on Your Own
Thus the men of Israel were subdued at that time, and the men of Judah prevailed, because they relied on the Lord, the God of their fathers (2 Chronicles 13:18 ESV).
Friend to Friend
It’s possible I had never searched the internet more in my entire life.
My dad had become ill and despite the seriousness of his condition, no one seemed to have an answer for what was happening. I felt sure that with the right combination of symptoms and information, I would land on the answer to what was causing the problems. But no matter how hard I tried, I could not come up with a concrete answer. My search proved more frustrating than freeing, and I finished more confused than comforted.
Today’s Truth tells us about a king that chose to rely on the Lord in a time of crisis, “Thus the men of Israel were subdued at that time, and the men of Judah prevailed, because they relied on the Lord, the God of their fathers” (2 Chronicles 13:18). This verse comes at the end of a battle between King Abijah of Judah and the king of Israel, Jeroboam. Outmanned two to one, Abijah and his army stood their ground on one claim, “God is with us at our head.” (2 Chronicles 13:12) And as Today’s Truth tells us, because they relied on the Lord the men of Judah prevailed.
The Hebrew word translated “rely” in this verse is sha`an. It literally means to lean on. This word is used in other places in the Old Testament to communicate the idea of leaning on a spear or a person for support. However, in this verse, sha‘an communicates a much stronger idea. One dictionary defines it as to “have trust and belief in an object to the point of being in jeopardy if the object of trust fails.”
This same Hebrew word is used in Proverbs 3:5 when it says, “do not lean on your own understanding.” Another way to say this could be, don’t try to figure everything out on your own … which was exactly what I was trying to do with my dad.
So often it seems I find myself seeking my own understanding. I want to figure everything out on my own. And sometimes I wonder, what’s so bad about that anyway? Is it so bad to want to figure out the future?
But there’s a problem with this approach, because when we seek to figure things out on our own the burden of the results rests on our shoulders. We are forced to rely on our own limited resources.
Consider what we stand to gain when we trade our limited resources for the unlimited resources of the Lord. Our resources reach only as far as we can see; God’s resources see what we can’t see and prepare us for what we don’t know is coming. Our resources increase and decrease based on what we face; God is all powerful and remains the same yesterday, today, and forever.
During those days when my dad was sick, as I wrestled with the desire to figure everything out, I made the choice to set my heart and mind on worshiping God instead of wandering through countless websites. As I relied on God, I found the strength to continue.
Every day we can open our eyes and be sure of one thing: no matter what today holds, no matter what the future holds, we need Jesus. When we rely on our Savior instead of ourselves we receive relief from the burden of figuring out the future. As we acknowledge God in all our ways, He is faithful to direct our steps.
What is one way you can depend on God today instead of trying to figure something out on your own?
Dear God, Your Name is all I need. Thank You for being my Peace and my Provider. Forgive me for the times I try to figure things out on my own. It truly is a relief to run into the shelter of Your presence. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
What things are you inclined to lean on instead of God?
Sometimes we can lean on earthly provisions (like the internet, for example), or we might turn to people or resources that we believe might have some amount of knowledge, strength, or influence. Ask God to show you the things you rely on instead of Him. As He reveals them, ask God to help you trade the burdens of figuring out the future with the relief of relying on Him, then ask Him to direct your steps as you lean on Him.
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