With July 4 being Independence Day, one of my first thoughts every year about this time as I start to write this column is the tension between independence and our dependence upon God. We all like to assert our independence and insist on “doing our own thing” in our own way. That is very much a part of my make-up, and is true for most of us. But the more I study my Bible, the more places I find that call from the Lord for us to recognize that we are really more God-dependent than self-dependent. Our Bible study in the Tuesday morning S.W.A.T. (Servants With A Testimony) group started with Deuteronomy 10:12-13 , “And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?” If this sounds somewhat like what you’ve heard from a number of other Bible verses, remember that ‘Deuteronomy’ means ‘a second telling.’ That whole book of the Bible is a re-telling of things that were already in earlier books, such as Exodus and Numbers. One of the concepts that many people have a hard time with today is this idea of “fearing the Lord.” The original Hebrew is not just about being afraid of God, (but that is there, too) as much as it has to do with reverencing God and giving Him the status as the Master in a master/servant relationship. Too many people today think that they can “use” God like one would use a remote control device to control or fix some problem. The ancient Hebrews stressed the fact that God is in control and we are His servants, not the other way around. When we get that relationship figured out, everything else seems to fall into place.
My fellow pastor friend, Kathy Potter, over at Bloomfield shared a story about a little boy who tried to open a flower bud by himself, only to find that he messed it up every time. “Why is it that when God opens a flower bud, it turns out beautiful? But when I try to do it, all I get is an ugly mess?” he asked his mother, unwittingly answering his own question. There are many of us who are still trying to do too many things by ourselves, thinking we can do it our own way, only to be as disappointed as that little fellow. Only by acknowledging God and His proper role in the world and our little life, do things open up as beautifully as those many summer flowers do. We are truly dependent on God’s wisdom, love and mercy. We are dependent on His power to see us through this life and even into Life everlasting in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Grace and Peace,