Christianity 201

February 17, 2019

Hi-Tech vs. Low-Tech vs. Trusting in God

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:32 am
Tags: , , ,

Some of you know the verse,

Psalm 20:7 CEB  Some people trust in chariots, others in horses;
    but we praise the Lord’s name.

Psalm 20:7 NASB  Some boast in chariots and some in horses, But we will boast in the name of the LORD, our God.

The point of the verse is that our confidence should be in God, and at the times we win the battle, the credit should go to the Lord.

But the dichotomy between chariots and horses is what struck me today about the verse. Chariots were definitely the high-tech tool of the day. One look at the movie Ben Hur is enough to convince of their strategic position in battle. On the other hand, horses seem rather old-school by comparison.

We do this today in our churches, but to extremes. We’ve put the traditional “horses” out to pasture, counting instead on drawing crowds to our teaching through the latest high-tech gear, and keeping or tracking them through the use of the latest apps. Who needs a pot-luck lunch when people are engaging with us all week on Facebook?

But even the pot-luck was an attempt to use a program to do the work that only the Holy Spirit can do. Sure, it creates a vehicle whereby people can interact with one another and the Spirit can work powerfully through those conversations. But we should never feel that we need to do these things for the church to advance.

Let’s see what some classic writers said about this verse:

William Plummer* writes:

In war, chariots, horses, navies, numbers, discipline, former successes, are relied on; but the battle is not to the strong. “Providence favours the strong battalions” may sound well in a worldling’s ear, but neither Providence nor the Bible so teaches. In peace, riches, friends, ships, farms, stocks, are relied upon, yet they can neither help nor save.

Henry Melvill* writes:

By the name of God is generally understood, in Holy Writ, the various properties and attributes of God: these properties and attributes make up and constitute the name of God. As when Solomon says, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it and is safe.” And, by remembering, considering, meditating upon this name of God, the psalmist represents himself as comforted or strengthened, whatever might be the duties to which he was called, or the dangers to which he was exposed.

Others were for looking to other sources of safety and strength, “some trusting in chariots, and some in horses;” but the psalmist always set himself to the “remembering the name of the Lord our God;” and always, it would seem, with satisfaction and success. And here is the peculiarity of the passage on which we wish to dwell, and from which we hope to draw important lessons and truths — the psalmist “remembers the name of the Lord his God;” not any one property or attribute of God; but the whole combination of divine perfections.

John Calvin** writes:

We see how natural it is to almost all men to be the more courageous and confident the more they possess of riches, power and military forces. The people of God, therefore, here protest that they do not place their hope, as is the usual way with men, in their military forces and warlike apparatus, but only in the aid of God. As the Holy Spirit here sets the assistance of God in opposition to human strength, it ought to be particularly noticed, that whenever our minds come to be occupied by carnal confidence, they fall at the same time into a forgetfulness of God. It is impossible for him, who promises himself victory by confiding in his own strength, to have his eyes turned towards God. The inspired writer, therefore, uses the word remember, to show, that when the saints betake themselves to God, they must cast off every thing which would hinder them from placing an exclusive trust in him.

Years ago, while in my early 20s, I missed a service at a church I loved to attend every week, and I asked my friend what he could recall from the sermon. He quoted a line without telling me it had been spoken facetiously: We don’t need the Holy Spirit, we have technology.

As hard as it is to believe, that is the very bedrock of many modern churches. We march forth into the battle against the world, the flesh and the devil (or substitute, the culture) on our own strength and try to build the Kingdom of God using the latest programs, tools, trends, or devices.

When Moses struck a rock he was told by God to merely speak to, he got the water the people needed, but he had disobeyed to do so and it cost him. Just because you’re getting results doesn’t mean you’re doing it God’s way.

But we’ll save Moses and the rock for another day.

-PW


*Sourced at BibleStudyTools.com
**Sourced at StudyLight.org

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