Daily reading: 15 August
Trust in God.
Something to read
As for me, I said in my prosperity, ‘I shall never be moved.’ By your favour, O Lord, you made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face; I was dismayed.’
Something to think about
A dependent person is generally considered to be someone who can't manage on their own and therefore needs others to do for them what they cannot properly do for themselves. We encourage our young people to become independent, able to look after themselves as they mature. Our culture even regards 'self-made people' as worthy of admiration.
All well and good. We do need to be able to sustain ourselves and not be over-dependent on others. But when it comes to our relationship with our creator, we cannot afford to be 'self-sufficient' or 'masters of our own destiny'.
It seems that David had developed this kind of attitude as he became more established as king in Israel. He began to lose his earlier total trust in and obedience towards God, and relied more on his own abilities and wisdom. As they say, pride comes before a fall, and that is, it seems, exactly what transpired.
It wasn't so clear in the previous verses, but verses 6-7 give us the background to David's night-time weeping (verse 5). His trouble had at least something to do with this self-reliant attitude. For the king of God's people this was a very serious matter, for as he acted, so his people would follow. Later, in Jeremiah's time, God would say much the same thing to Israel: 'I spoke to you in your prosperity, but you said, "I will not listen."' Notice the same word, 'prosperity', which clearly speaks of reliance on one's own resources, rather than trusting God's.
Something to do
In what areas of life do you have a tendency to trust in your own resources and forget about God? 'Prosperity' for you may refer to your natural gifts and abilities, in which it is so easy to forget God's part.
Write out those areas where you tend to trust in yourself and bring them to God. Give him permission to take hold of them and use them in a way that he wants. How can you use those abilities for other people?
Something to pray
Thank you Lord for all the 'prosperity' that you have given me – not just material goods, but also the gifts and abilities that I possess. I recognise that they are not simply my property, but that you have entrusted them to me. I now yield them back to you, as the young boy in the Gospel story did with his lunchbox, and through that action you fed thousands of people. Use my life to bring hope and healing to a world desperate for your love. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Today's contributor is Andy Parnham, Pastor of Brockley Community Church, London.