Misplaced Hope

There is a military philosophy called overwhelming force.  Essentially, the philosophy states that you bring enough firepower and manpower so that any battle becomes a “sure thing” instead of an even contest.  Yet, history has many instances where a smaller force trounced a larger, more powerful army.  The Bible also contains several examples such as David and Goliath, the Battle of Jehoshaphat, and Gideon’s army, to name a few.  How did these men triumph against overwhelming odds? Let’s look at Psalm 33:13-17.

The Lord looks from heaven;
He sees all the sons of men;
From His dwelling place He looks out
On all the inhabitants of the earth,
He who fashions the hearts of them all,
He who understands all their works.

The king is not saved by a mighty army;
A warrior is not delivered by great strength.
A horse is a false hope for victory;

Nor does it deliver anyone by its great strength.
(Psalm 33:13–17, NASB95)

Our personal strength is a “false hope for victory”.  Sure, there is a place for will-power in many areas of life.  Hope, however, is often misplaced on family, government, employers, our self, our skills, our luck, or even our faith instead of in the Lord.  The last one, our faith, may cause some confusion.  Sometimes we get off track and don’t even know it.  Our hope becomes placed on what we feel God owes us or on our ability to believe God’s promises.  Notice that the leverage in those cases is on us.  We try to move God instead of trusting Him to get us through.

The real measure of faith is not the quantity of faith but its purity.  Consider this from the gospel of Luke, “The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’, and it would obey you.” (Luke 17:5–6, NASB95)  A mustard seed only knows one thing, plant me and I will grow tall and bear fruit. It does not doubt, it just knows.  That is really all faith is, a knowing beyond all doubt. David, Gideon, and Jehoshaphat all had a journey of faith that brought them to the place of knowing that God will prevail no matter how powerful the opponent or bleak the prospects.

Dale Heinold
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