Psalm 20:7 Some take pride in chariots, and some in horses,
but our pride is in the name of the Lord our God.
8 They will collapse and fall,
but we shall rise and stand upright.
Isaiah 31:1Alas for those who go down to Egypt for help
and who rely on horses,
who trust in chariots because they are many
and in horsemen because they are very strong,
but do not look to the Holy One of Israel
or consult the Lord!
The temptation to trust in the things of this world is nothing new. The people of God were warned through Moses not to desire the things of Egypt. They had learned about worldly strength through the might of the Egyptian army. Horses and chariots were symbols of power and victory. However, they were to remember that God had sent the chariots and horses to the bottom of the Red Sea.
The God whom we are to serve is more powerful than the things of this world. The horses and chariots signified military strength and a dependence upon human forces to make a difference. Human weapons — guns, bombs, tanks, missiles, airplanes and ships — they will all collapse and fall. Ultimately they are not the things that will resolve the issues that we face. We are to consult the Lord our God. Our pride is to be in the name of the Lord and our trust is to be in him.
This concept of trust in the Lord is quite radical. There would be some who might say that it was okay back in David’s time, or in the day of Moses, but certainly not today. Can you imagine trusting that God might intervene in the time of war against massive weapons?
There are plenty of folk who also say that they are tired of hearing Christians talk about prayer because that they don’t see Christians taking any action. This may be a valid criticism and it may just be because those who call themselves Christians don’t truly understand prayer. The reality is that when one engages in real prayer, the action of trust requires a response.
True prayer and trusting God are not inaction, but maybe they’ve been equated in that way because they are often seen going hand in hand. Action tends to be seen in trusting in chariots and horses. Could it be that God’s children have been reflecting the wrong kind of trust and hence there results inaction?
Prayer is not just bringing our shopping list of requests before God. Prayer is a place of intimacy with the Lord, where God begins to mold us and to shape us into his holy people. The result is a response and/or action to the things of this world that comes from the heart of God. It is not inaction. Prayer should never result in inaction but instead should result in action that is motivated by our personal relationship of trust in God. Let’s also remember that sometimes patient waiting is also an action!
A lack of trust is taking matters into your own hands, going back to Egypt to buy horses, and amassing as many chariots as possible. Our pride is not to be in the amount of earthly power which we can collect. Our pride is to be in God alone. We are to learn to walk faithfully with our God each and every single day. Jesus spoke up about the injustices of the world and actively ministered to those who were in need. We are to reflect Jesus today. That is why we look to the Holy One of Israel and we pray, taking time to consult with the Lord, and then we participate with God in his activity in the world.
God’s activity in the world never looks like the horses and chariots of Egypt. That’s what the people of Jesus’ day wanted and it’s why so many missed the arrival of the Messiah.
Jesus is here. Jesus is coming again. He won’t be found in earthly solutions. Seek him and we will find him — and then we must actively trust him by following and reflecting him in this world. This is the action we are called to take as his children who are transformed in the intimate space of prayer.
Lord, please help me be aware of your leading today and may I not be afraid of the places where you may go. Amen.
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