SACRED DEPENDENCE

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“Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, And rely on horses, Who trust in chariots because they are many, And in horsemen because they are very strong, But who do not look to the Holy One of Israel, Nor seek the Lord!” (Is. 31:1)

We are totally dependent upon God. We may not realize our dependence Him. We may reject our dependence on Him. We may not properly acknowledge our dependence upon Him. Nevertheless, we remain completely dependent upon God for “life, breath, and all things.” “Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” We depend upon God for everything.

When we recognize our dependence upon God for all things, we can begin to have peace. Adam and Eve were dissatisfied with God’s providence and chose to eat of the forbidden fruit. Happiness did not follow their decision. The people built the Tower of Babel to be with God. Their vain attempt did ended with them scattered and worse off than they were before. When we choose not to rely on the Lord, we will find unhappiness, chaos, and failure as well.

Success follows when we depend on the Lord

Success comes when we recognize our dependence on the Lord and live life depending on Him for every good thing. Noah depended on God’s faithfulness when he built the Ark and safely lived in it with his family. Abraham left all at God’s command to go. He received the promises made to him. Abraham depended upon God as he was about to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. He trust was rewarded. Even Jesus depended on God while in this life. Jesus knew that he would be raised from the dead and exalted to his position again at God’s right hand. His sacrifice of Himself displays his dependence on God. This is why Paul reminds us that “all things work together for good” (Rom. 8:28).

Do we depend on the Lord?

Have we enquired from His Scriptures when questions arise? Do we consult the Bible as just a helpful book among many instead of the perfect Word of God? Have we trusted God to save us? Have we put our dependent faith into action by baptism? Do we live our lives dependent upon His Word or our will?

This dependence must be real.

We can not fake our dependence on God, our trust in God, or our faith in Him. God warned against those who would fake their faith. Through Isaiah, God pronounced a woe upon them “who swear by the name of the Lord, And make mention of the God of Israel But not in truth or in righteousness For they call themselves after the holy city, and lean on the God of Israel; The Lord of hosts is His name. (Is. 48:1-2).

The church depends on God.

Dependence on God is nowhere more important than in the life of the church. Joel  Beeke wrote, “Being wise in our own eyes ill suits those who teach and command others to submit to God’s Word. What do we have that we did not receive? When did we become infallible? Therefore, we should always consult the wisdom of God’s Word in our work as the shepherds of Christ’s flock. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” (3:5).”[1] The Scriptures are given to mankind by God so that the man of God will be complete and thoroughly furnished for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17). To rely on God and His word is to have the strongest foundation and the greatest provider as the one who will empower and direct our lives. If we depend on a fad, entertainment, or the latest program we will find ourselves dissatisfied. Trust the Lord for His work.

We would be foolish not to rely on God.

He is the ultimate reason for everything. He is the LORD. The I Am. Bavinck described how God is the source of all things saying:

He is self-existent. He existed before all things, and all things exist only through him (Ps. 90:2; 1 Cor. 8:6; Rev. 4:11). In an absolute sense, he is Lord (אָדוֹן, κυριος, δεσποτης), Lord of all the earth (Exod. 23:17; Deut. 10:17; Josh. 3:13). He is dependent on nothing, but everything depends on him (Rom. 11:36). He kills and makes alive; he forms the light and creates the darkness; he makes weal and creates woe (Deut. 32:39; Isa. 45:5–7; 54:16). He does according to his will with the host of heaven and the inhabitants of the earth (Dan. 4:35), so that people are in his hand as clay in the hands of a potter (Isa. 64:8; Jer. 18:1ff.; Rom. 9:21). His counsel and good pleasure is the ultimate ground of all that is and happens (Ps. 33:11; Prov. 19:21; Isa. 46:10; Matt. 11:26; Acts 2:23; 4:28; Eph. 1:5, 9, 11). Accordingly, he does all things for his own sake, for the sake of his name and praise (Deut. 32:27; Josh. 7:9; 1 Sam. 12:22; Ps. 25:11; 31:3; 79:9; 106:8; 109:21; 143:11; Prov. 16:4; Isa. 48:9; Jer. 14:7, 21; Ezek. 20:9, 14, 22, 44). Nor does he need anything, for he is all-sufficient (Job 22:2–3; Ps. 50:19ff.; Acts 17:25) and has life in himself (John 5:26). Thus he is the first and the last, the alpha and the omega, who is and who was and who is to come (Isa. 41:4; 44:6; 48:12; Rev. 1:8); absolutely independent, not only in his existence but consequently also in all his attributes and perfections, in all his decrees and deeds. He is independent in his intellect (Rom. 11:34–35), in his will (Dan. 4:35; Rom. 9:19; Eph. 1:5; Rev. 4:11), in his counsel (Ps. 33:11; Isa. 46:10), in his love (Hos. 14:4), in his power (Ps. 115:3), and so forth. Thus, being all-sufficient in himself and not receiving anything from outside of himself, he is, by contrast, the only source of all existence and life, of all light and love, the overflowing fountain of all good (Ps. 36:10; Acts 17:25).[2]

God alone is the all-sufficient self-sufficient being who supplies all to all. He is “the overflowing fountain of all good.” IF we do not live with dependence on God, we are either rejecting Him or rebelling against Him. Either option is foolish since God is the reason and provider of everything. There is absolutely no reason for us to expect success without recognizing that we are completely dependent upon God for that success. “Creatures, after all, do not derive their existence from themselves but from others and so have nothing from themselves; both in their origin and hence in their further development and life, they are absolutely dependent.”[3]

TIS SO SWEET

We often look at dependence as a bad thing. But we are made and made to be dependent upon the Lord. Our dependence on food, water, and shelter does not make us feel bad. We rejoice int eh good food, water, and shelter we are given. We should not be opposed to full dependence on the Lord. We are made by Him for this. We glorify Him in our dependence on Him. We learn to appreciate his providence more and more each day as we live with Him. We also praise God more and more because of all that he means to us. This is why we sing, “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus.”

 

[1] Joel Beeke Reformed Systematic Theology.

[2] Herman Bavinck, John Bolt, and John Vriend, Reformed Dogmatics: God and Creation, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004), 150.

[3] Herman Bavinck, John Bolt, and John Vriend, Reformed Dogmatics: God and Creation, vol. 2, 152.

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