READ: 2 Samuel 3:6-5:25
THINK: One of the most amazing things about David’s life and faith is his willingness to always acknowledge that what he accomplishes is due to God’s power and not his own. As an aspiring king, we naturally assume that David would want to show his strength and assert his power and dominance. Yet, we find him time and again defying his culture and confessing his weakness and inability. In 2 Samuel 3:39 he very plainly states, “even though I am anointed king, I am weak and these [enemies] are too strong for me.” Making a statement like that was counter-cultural in David’s day. I think it is no less counter-cultural today. The narrative of strength, power, self-reliance, and independence is a very powerful one in 21st century America. We value strength and minimize weakness.
But this is a dangerous narrative for us to buy into – just as it would have been a dangerous one for David to buy into. It may have cost David his life, relying on himself instead of waiting and depending on God. It will certainly cost us ours. Maybe not physically, but certainly spiritually. Why do I say that? Because the cold hard truth is this: we are not strong and we cannot do it on our own!
When we participate in the cultural myth that weakness is not an option then we end up trying to earn our salvation through our own strength. And so we reduce Christianity and faith to a set of rules to be followed because we want to believe that if we just try hard enough and follow the rules well enough and check off all the right boxes we can earn our way into heaven without anybody else’s help. But that’s simply not the case.
David knew that in his weakness, God was strong. In 2 Samuel 3 he says it bluntly. In 2 Samuel 5 he not once but twice asks God what he should do about fighting the Philistines and trusts God to go before him. He didn’t trust his own ability and his own might. He trusted in God’s. See, David grasped a core truth – one that has given God’s people hope and strength for centuries and continues to do so today. That truth is: we are not strong enough to do it on our own, but in our weakness God is strong. The apostle Paul went so far as to say, “I boast in my weakness…for when I am weak then I am strong.”
We live in a dark and broken world that we cannot overcome on our own. We don’t have the strength to avoid the death and eternal separation from God that we all deserve. But God invites us to confess our weakness and allow him to be strong. He invites us to meet him at the cross – once the ultimate symbol of weakness and death – transformed by God’s power and Christ’s death and resurrection into the greatest symbol of victory and life and hope the world has ever known. We are destined for death, but he is mighty to save!
I encourage you to follow the example of David today. I encourage you to reject the cultural myth that weakness is not an option. Be weak, because your weakness is precisely the place where God is strong!
PRAY: Simply admit your weakness to God today. Then thank him for being strong, and thank him for the cross.