“Declaration of Dependence”
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing (John 15:5).”
On July 4th, this land of our pilgrimage takes time to celebrate throwing off the oppression of the tyrant King George III and becoming an independent nation. That spirit of independence helped forge this country into the envy of the world as individuals had the freedom to blaze their own trails. But in the spiritual sense, such a streak of independence is dangerous. The faithful have always declared their utter dependency upon God.
David was a man after God’s own heart, renowned for killing Goliath, and being a victorious warrior king. But before the Almighty he was “poor and needy (Psalm 86:1-7).” When great armies of wicked nations amassed against Judah, King Jehoshaphat didn’t rely on his own military power or seek alliances with other nations but turned his eyes only to God (2 Chronicles 20). Hannah was tormented by her rival because she remained barren so she pleaded her helpless case to the only One she could depend upon for aid (1 Samuel 1:10-17). The faithful have always depended upon God rather than themselves (Proverbs 3:5).
Conversely, those who have foolishly believed in their own sufficiency were ruined. Nebuchadnezzar exalted himself (Daniel 4:30-32) and was brought low until he confessed that all that he had was truly in God’s hands (vv.34-37). When confronted by King Baasha and the Israelite army, Asa, the king of Judah, foolishly made a treaty with the Syrians instead of depending upon God (2 Chronicles 16:1-3, 7-9). The Rich Fool trusted in his wealth and was unprepared to meet God (Luke 12:16-21). Perhaps the Laodiceans best typify this false sense of independence. Jesus told them; “You say ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ – and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked (Revelation 3:17-19).” They, like so many, needed to recognize their true sense of dependency upon the Lord.
Every living thing is totally dependent upon God, from the grass of the fields to every beast, bird, and fish (Psalm 104). Paul proclaimed to the Athenians that it is God who gives to us “life, breath, and ALL things (Acts 17:25).” We can’t add one second to our lives (Matthew 6:27). In fact all of our days are already written in His book (Psalm 139:16). We depend upon God for our daily bread and even our next breath.
The prayers of faithful men and women of the Bible demonstrate that they knew and acknowledged to God that they were wholly dependent upon Him. Not only were they materially dependent but spiritually dependent, as none can approach Him with any notion of spiritual self-sufficiency. Perhaps this truth is no better illustrated than in the prayers of the Pharisee and the tax collector. One gave thanks for his supposed overflowing spiritual goodness and service. The other, however, merely pleaded for mercy and confessed his sins (Luke 18:9-14). It was he who depended upon the mercy of God and not his own resources that was justified.
Since the garden, the devil has been telling men and women that they may have independence from God (Genesis 3:4-5) and it is a lie that keeps them under his tyrannical authority (1 John 5:19). Even in our nation’s founding document of independence, Jefferson alluded to the God of the Bible on five occasions; (Nature’s God, God, Creator, Supreme Judge of the world, Divine Providence). It stands as a bold statement of independence from an unjust depot and affirming dependence in the great Governor of the universe. Recognizing our weaknesses and dependence upon God is not shameful but rather it is a truly a great asset because the Lord’s strength is made perfect in men’s weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9, 2 Chronicles 16:9). Have you thrown off the oppression of that tyrant the devil and issued your declaration of dependence upon God?
“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:10).”