“He delivered me from my strong enemy, from those who hated me, for they were too strong for me.” (2 Samuel 22:18 NAS)
What a fascinating statement by David. Remember, David is the ultimate warrior and a pretty tough guy. He was the one whom the people honored as a great warrior:
“And the women sang as they played, and said, ‘Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands.'” (1 Samuel 18:7 NAS).
So for someone like David to openly confess that someone (or something) was too strong for him is quite interesting (at least to me as I sit and read through 2 Samuel 22 this morning). Guys have egos and we often prove our self-worth (if, to no one else other than ourselves) by our performance; how we compare to other guys doing the same thing. The focus here is finding God’s help when facing an enemy who is bigger, stronger, and faster than me. We often won’t ask for help even when we are lost because we hate the idea of admitting that we don’t know where we are going or admit that we don’t know how to get to where we want to go. We like the idea of overcoming the impossible and defeating the enemy even if much of it is vicarious. This is why we often like battle movies where the good guys defeat the bad guys and the more dramatic it is the more we like it. There is something about going to battle and winning, regardless if it is a sports team, a game, or real battles in our world – we like to conquer the bullies and stand in the gap.
“If I have to boast, I will boast of what pertains to my weakness. The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, He who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying.” (2 Corinthians 11:30-31 NAS)
“And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NAS)
I know that I have mentioned this before, but it is a principle worth repeating. The intuitive nature of experiencing the full grace of God in our lives is in the context of our most glaring weakness. Why? Because when we are strong in and of ourselves we tend to rely on ourselves. In one sense we don’t need God and we think he would be proud of us if we “do well”. Somehow we think that when He sees how strong and persistent we are when facing insurmountable odds He will be proud of us. This takes some discernment too. It is hard for us to have a sense of grace helping us because it truly is hard to get to a point where we admit with David, “This situation is too much for me”.
When was the last time you boated about your weakness so that people might see more clearly the power of God? How do you talk about yourself with others? What do you highlight in your conversations with other people? Do you brag about your strengths and virtues, or do you boast about your weaknesses?
Talking about weakness only works if it is complemented by how God’s grace carried me through, out of, or in the midst of a situation we are willing to admit was too much for us. The same truth is captured in 2 Corinthians 1:
“For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves in order that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead;” (2 Corinthians 1:8-9)
Notice Paul’s admission “we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength so that we despaired even of life…” What an admission. But noticed what follows: “…in order that we would not trust in ourselves but in God…”
God’s power and grace is much more evident and sustaining when we are willing to admit that sometimes life is more than what we can handle. It is a way that we can honor our God as Father and experience His true grace toward us.