by Jez Dearing
A few weeks ago my 6 year old son got himself locked inside his bedroom. My wife and myself were out at disciple groups and our babysitter was a young girl who had no idea how to get him, and frankly neither did I. It was about 25 minutes drive back to our house so one of our friends came around to our house to see if he could open the door. Fortunately at my discipleship group was another friend who was a carpenter who was about to talk my other friend through how to make a hole in the frame and release the catch, which he thankfully did.
At that point I was literally dependent on both my friends. I had absolutely no power or wisdom to help my 6 year old son out. Thankfully he saw this as an adventure.
None of us like feeling helpless and powerless and yet Scripture says that is our state. We are not made to be independent but dependent on God. The psalmist in Psalm 86 cries out to God for help, in v1 he says, “Incline your ear to me and and answer me for I’m poor and needy.”
Poor and needy
Dependent people is who we are. And this dependency is the starting place of continued intimacy with God. Notice the tone and the intimacy of David’s requests - that are like a child to a father or mother.
David’s requests for help include:
v2 Preserve my life and save your servant
v3 Be gracious to me O Lord
v4 Gladden my soul, lift up my soul
v5 Listen to my plea for grace
v11 Teach me your way O Lord
v16 Turn to me and be gracious to me, give your strength to your servant
v17 Show me a sign of your favour
DAVID RECOGNISES THAT ONLY GOD CAN MEET HIS NEEDS AND THAT OTHERS AND HIMSELF ARE HELPLESS AND POWERLESS WITH GOD’S HELP.
This place of dependence is rooted in our realisation of the person and character of the one who his hope is in, God. Listen to how David approach His God:
Eleven times he says ’O Lord’ - Master - Sovereign king
Four times - ‘You are my God’
David’s hope is in who God is not only what he can do. See how he describes him…
v3 For you, O Lord are good and forgiving, abound in steadfast love
v9 All nations you have made shall love and worship you
v10 For you are great and do wondrous things
v13 For great is your steadfast love towards me
v15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness
Our and David’s response to dependence
Let’s be honest, we are prone to disbelief and dependence on others in general. It’s only when we recognise a need and know that someone can help that we are quick to ask for help.
THE CHRISTIAN, LIKE A CHILD, IS ONE WHO SHOULD RECOGNISE THAT THEY ARE UTTERLY AND COMPLETELY DEPENDENT ON GOD.
They should be quick to call out for help day by day and hour by hour. Pride and autonomy often stop us from asking and receiving the help we desperately need from the one who is only about to help.
-Let’s make it a practice to ask for help at the beginning of each day.
-Let’s end the day with practice of confession and thankfulness.
Notice in Psalm 86 David’s response to his dependence is not frustration but thankfulness:
V12 ‘I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.’
Thankfulness will follow true dependence. Rather than being frustrated that my friend was able to help get my son out when I was totally helpless, I was able to admit my dependency on my friend who was able to help and be thankful to him!