There is always a tendency for us to rely on that which is physical or within our control instead of surrendering to God by seeking His help. Systems we put in place, our intellect, hard work, detailed life plans and strategies seem to give us more confidence than trusting in an invisible God. If your Christian journey has been anything like mine, there would have been at least one time when you had a need or were faced with a situation, had a perfect plan to fix it and the perfect plan failed hopelessly.
This is a vulnerability of all human beings but is more prominent in people with high intellectual capacity or means. We know how to get things done therefore we just proceed to do what’s necessary. It is a dangerous way to live. God expects you to have intellect; however He does not want you to put your trust in anything but Him. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. It is implied that we should have some understanding but we cannot put our trust in that.
“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 ! 3Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses are flesh, and not spirit. When the Lord stretches out His hand, both he who helps will fall, and he who is helped will fall down; they all will perish together.” – Isaiah 31:1, 3 (NKJV)
Going down to Egypt for help connotes seeking help from other men, chariots represent trust in numbers and horses represent trust in strength, either physical or intellectual. The have-nots do not possess a strong network, large numbers and strength therefore it is relatively easy to trust God. However the haves almost always get carried away and almost always experience a humbling defeat at some point.
From God’s point of view, to seek help from man is to turn away from Him and to turn away from God is to invite disappointment. Looking unto man means you are looking away from God. God sees to it that you don’t get the help you expect from your sources. He serves this humble pie. It is therefore not the devil opposing your progress every now and then; it could be God as a result of your turning away from Him. You seek help from Egypt, God takes away their ability to help you by crippling Egypt. The person you have turned to gained his strength from God and you have unwittingly chosen to make a god of the man. You shall have no other gods before Me. It becomes clearer why that rich and capable uncle turned you away when you needed help desperately.
Let me divert slightly by advising to parents to teach their children early in life to pray for their needs; that way they do not see their parents as God. It is a critical lesson they must learn.
The solution to every situation starts with prayer. I will surely plan a way out but I will make certain it is clear to God and I that He is the one I am looking up to. If I have to write an exam for instance, I will surely put the required effort into studying. However I will not write even the most basic of exams without praying first. It is actually best to pray before you study at all.
As a practical example, how would you react to an impending financial crisis? What would be your immediate reaction? Naturally we draw up a mental plan of how we would tackle the problem and proceed. That is the responsible thing to do but this puts the cart before the horse and would lead to serial disappointments. After hitting a brick wall and the disaster is imminent, then we declare a state of emergency and turn to God. Seek Him early for help as soon as you are aware of what is on the horizon by going on your knees before Him. His help can come in many different ways such as provision by intervention, a diversion of the challenge altogether, giving you wisdom to manage the issues and see it through, giving you favor with the institutions or with people who would loan you the funds.
“In the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa developed a serious foot disease. Yet even with the severity of his disease, he did not seek the Lord’s help but turned only to his physicians. So he died in the forty-first year of his reign.” – 2 Chronicles 16:12-13 (NLT)
God’s annoyance with King Asa in the above text is not for turning to physicians but more so for not seeking the Lord. Without a doubt, your doctor can help you when ill but seek God’s help first. Once done, the doctor becomes a tool in the hands of God for your healing. Your friends can lend you some money but seek God’s help first. Your spouse can offer advice on issues but seek God’s help first. Your network can connect you to a job but seek God’s help first. Your IQ can surely help you pass an examination but seek God’s help first. The key is in doing this first, not as an afterthought. Doing this significantly increases the chances of success as He ensures you only take actions that will yield results because He has been consulted.
This is very unnatural and would require conscious conditioning of our methods. Taking a moment to pause and seek help from the One who has all answers is prudent; however for this to become our habit the person of God must become very real to us. The more real God is to you, the more inclined you are to consult Him before seeking solutions of your own. He must become more real than your intellect and that is a tall order, especially for a carnal man. There is a familiarity and tangibility born out of relationship and communion. The more you relate with God through prayer and His word, the more real He becomes to you.
Those with a heretical inclination will camp at the extreme of this and adopt this as an excuse to do nothing. Their motto becomes, ‘I am waiting on the Lord’ therefore I must bring balance by saying that seeking God’s help does not mean that responsible action should be abandoned. It is an argument for the right order of things. We often turn to God after our strategies have failed but we ought to seek God before taking the reins. It is about the chronology of events. Shalom.