February 17, 2017 • Life for Leaders
Give us aid against the enemy, for human help is worthless.
I’m not very good at asking for help. Okay, I admit it. Mostly I’m really bad at asking for help. When the smiling man at the hardware store says, “May I help you find something?” I miraculously transform my puzzled face into an all-knowing smirk. “No thanks,” I say, “I’m doing just fine.”
Yes, I have drunk deeply at the fount of American self-reliance. Like so many of my fellow citizens, I admire people who pull themselves up by their bootstraps and forge ahead with determination. I want to be one of those people. And I’m not alone. Most of us want to control our lives and our destinies. When we get in trouble, we expect to help ourselves out of it.
But, inevitably, we find that our own abilities fall short of what is needed. We face problems that seem insurmountable, challenges that exceed our strength, and puzzles that outflank our wisdom. In situations like these, we realize that we are not meant to live self-reliantly, but God-reliantly. Yes, God has given us many talents and abilities. But we use these most fully and fruitfully when we rely on God for direction, strength, and salvation.
In Psalm 60, David cries out to God because he has appeared to reject his people (60:1). In anger, God has broken their defenses and been very hard on them (60:1-3). So David calls out to God to rescue “those you love” (60:5). In verse 11, he prays, “Give us aid against the enemy, for human help is worthless.” The latter phrase could be translated more literally, “For the salvation that comes from human beings is in vain.”
In context, “salvation” in Psalm 60:11 does not refer to eternal deliverance, but rather to help from the difficult situations in which God’s people find themselves. There are times when, after exhausting our own resources, we realize that only God can save us from the mess we have made of our lives. In the bigger picture, we understand that only God can save us from sin and death. This he has done through Jesus Christ, through his life, death, and resurrection.
Today, I want to use well all the gifts, talents, and opportunities God has given me. I will do this when I rely on God for the help he alone can give. That’s the help I need in my work, my family, and my effort to live as a faithful disciple of Jesus. That’s the help I really need today, tomorrow, and every other day.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
Do you think it’s wimpy and weak to rely on God’s help? Why or why not?
What encourages you to live each day in reliance upon God’s help and strength?
In what ways do you rely on God’s help in your daily work? Can you think of other ways you might ask God for help?
Gracious God, how grateful I am that you are our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble (Ps. 46:1). Thank you for all the ways you have saved me in this life, most of all for saving me from sin and death through your grace in Christ.
Teach me how to rely on you in a way that is responsible. I don’t want to use you as an excuse for my own laziness. But I do want to lean upon you for the strength that you alone can supply. When I rely on you, I can be more fully the person you have created me to be.
All praise be to you, O God, my help and my salvation. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online Bible commentary: With God’s Help
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.