You run to the armory for your weapons. You inspect the breaks in the walls of Jerusalem. You store up water in the lower pool. You survey the houses and tear some down for stone to strengthen the walls. Between the city walls, you build a reservoir for water from the old pool. But you never ask for help from the One who did all this. You never considered the One who planned this long ago. (Isaiah 22:8-11)
Relate: I hate asking for help. I just hate it. I was raised in a culture and environment where hard work and self sufficiency were virtues. Men are men and they do whatever needs getting done and they don’t walk around with a hand out. They don’t whine about their lot. And they certainly don’t ever show that they are not able to do it on their own. Rugged individualism is the ideal every true American man strives for. This was taught as a child through cultural icons like Clint Eastwood and John Wayne. It is reinforced in contemporary culture with heroes on the big screen like Batman, Superman, and of course, Liam Neeson…
React: As much as part of me would like to think that this is a unique trait of American culture, it isn’t. All the way down through time, there were people who thought they could always do everything on their own with no help. A large majority of the time this is actually a good thing. God has gifted us with two hands, two feet, and a mind that should know when and how to use them. If they aren’t broken, they should be hard at work. However, we also need to know when and where we should seek help from others, especially from God.
I love helping people. This should be a good thing, but my eagerness to help others while never seeking help in return often stems from a pride that wants to prove I am more capable than those around me. It is sad how even my best actions so often stem from sinful motives. The Hebrews had an enemy threatening them in Isaiah’s day that they could never defeat on their own. Assyria was bigger, stronger, more numerous, more efficient, had better generals and weapons… Judah didn’t stand a chance. But still, they tried to fight this hopeless cause on their own. We’ll fix our own walls. We will build up our own water supply. We will tear down houses for supplies (and to create a better killing field against the enemy). All this planning and preparation was good and wise. But in the same breath they were saying, “We will not ask God for help. We’ve got this on our own.” How often is my own pride saying the exact same thing?
I need You. Thank You for giving me a sharp mind, a healthy body, and a good work ethic. Thank You for making me capable in so many ways. But help me avoid the danger of thinking these are the only blessings You have given me. You have blessed me with friends and family and neighbors. Give me the humility to ask them for help when it is needed. Give me the vulnerability to be willing to admit that I cannot always do it on my own. Most of all, help me to recognize that I need You not just in my weaknesses, but in every moment of every day. I need You, God. For every breath and in every heartbeat, I need You.Let me never forget this most vital of truths.