A Dependent People
Today is July Fourth—Independence Day—the birthday of the United States of America. I am truly thankful for the freedoms I enjoy in this nation. Our founding fathers and most of the colonial Americans did not want to be governed by a distant king. They sought and fought for their independence, and they eventually won. While a lot has changed in the last two-and-a-half centuries, the basic human drive for independence remains. Our oppressors may take different forms, with different types and degrees of influence, whether they are people, ideologies or other phenomena. The human need for freedom has always stood, and it is truly accomplished in one simple way.
God has offered true freedom, joy and fulfillment through a relationship with Jesus Christ. This has been the message from the beginning.
2 Chronicles 16:9 says, “For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His…” God spoke this message to His people Israel. After they entered the promised land, they were to drive out the nations and serve God wholeheartedly in everything. Instead, they mingled with the nations and fell into idolatry serving those nations’ gods. They asked for a king to lead them in victory, yet failed to recognize they already had a king—the LORD Himself. The rest of the verse reads, “You have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars.” Israel forgot they belonged to the LORD. Instead of resting in Him and His mighty power to give them victory, they wanted life their own way, on their own strength, and on their own terms. Ultimately, they would not accomplish this desire. God was looking to support a dependent people. They thought God was distant, and they wanted to throw off His rule, as if He did not understand or care about their plight (just as the colonials experienced with King George III). They forgot God’s promises. “The LORD is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy” (Zephaniah 3:17). God is victorious over and for His people. He just wants them to draw near to experience His love.
This promise is ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Trouble in this world will not be overcome by mere human means. The trouble we have is our sin, physical death, a fallen world, and the influence of satan. Only through accepting eternal life in Christ will we be victorious.
The Lord is looking to support a dependent people. The question is “where is your heart?”
This is the blog of Tyler Shepard, the Senior Pastor for Shoaff Park Baptist Church in Fort Wayne, IN.
I hope you are encouraged and challenged to walk more closely with Jesus Christ!