May 11 (Daily reading: 2 Samuel 10; 1 Chronicles 19; Psalm 20) “Be strong, and let’s show ourselves courageous for the sake of our people and the cities of our God; and may the LORD do what is good in His sight” (2 Sam. 10:12). God often says, “Be strong and courageous.” Does this mean we serve Him in our own strength? No, but God uses our strength and our courage to work in and through us to do “what is good in His sight.”
When David wrote Psalm 20 as a prayer for victory over his enemies, he recognized that only God could bring the victory: “May the LORD answer you on a day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob protect you! May He send you help…” (v. 1-2). We sometimes react to challenges by doing what is right in our own sight, but David understood: “May He grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill your whole plan!” (v. 4). Our desires and plans go nowhere without God’s intervention. David’s son would later write: “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails” (Prov. 19:21, NIV).
We do not overlook the role that God has given us for the victory, but this role will be fulfilled when our will merges with God’s will, and we find ourselves doing what is right in God’s sight! When that happens, we will fly our banner “in the name of our God” (v. 5). David’s confidence was in God: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD, our God” (v. 7, NIV). We find our cry of victory in the words of the prophet: “‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of armies” (Zech. 4:6).
– Al Gary