READ: Psalm 35, Isaiah 64-66, Matthew 7, Acts 14
God’s highest joy is in Himself. God did not need to create humanity in order to be complete. In the eternal fellowship of the trinity that precedes finite humanity, there was love, joy, and peace to overflowing. What a wonder then, that God delights in humanity and that He will joy in His people (Isaiah 65:19). Not only does God delight in us, He takes pleasure in the defense of our success. Psalm 35:27 refers to the our enemies who are frustrated (thwarted by God) in their attacks against us. The psalmist announces: “Let them say continually, ‘Let the Lord be magnified who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.’” This is somewhat heady territory–to have the joy of God over our lives, to have His obvious pleasure in us to the extent that even our adversaries marvel at the goodness of our God. An obvious question is presented: Do the manner and means of our life’s successes reveal to our enemies that it was God, not us, who triumphed? If we are not careful we slip into self-congratulation, rather than joining our enemies in marveling at the greatness of our God.
There is one primary way that our victories can point to Jesus rather than to us: When we succeed in the face of obstacles large enough to ensure the impossibility of our conquest resulting from our capacity. Impossibilities are the great friend of the Christian. Without Goliath there would have been no David. We need to be blocked, resisted, challenged, and confronted by impossible people and circumstances in order for it to be clear that God has done the work. If we constantly overcome small hurdles, we inevitably appear to be self-sufficient. The humility of the believer demands impossible assignments. To ever succeed in our own strength is poison to our soul. To be overwhelmed is a blessing–overwhelmed not only by the giants without but the demons within. The giants of our own flesh too strong for us helps us by bringing us back to confession. We repent to God with Isaiah: “You are indeed angry, for we have sinned. In these ways we continue, and we need to be saved…But now, oh Lord, you are our Father. We are clay and you our potter. And we all are the work of your hand” (Isaiah 64:5, 8). Enemies without and within that are too much for us are a service to us, for they remind us that “we all are the work of His hands.”
It is not enough to internally recognize that our prosperity comes from a wondrous God who rejoices over us. We must live in such a manner that our enemies also recognize God’s mighty hand. This requires not one giant, but a lifetime of impossibilities. Only those who continually slay impossible giants are able to amaze their enemies into magnifying the Lord. Our ongoing impossibilities then are the fodder for worship. Let us not despise or run away from the very fuel that makes God great.