To call it a “divine partnership” almost seems presumptuous. After all, what can a mortal man offer that an eternal God doesn’t already have? What yoking could there possibly be between the Almighty Creator and His dust of the earth creation? Partnership somehow doesn’t seem like the right word. Yet, as I’m reading in Psalm 119:25-32, I’m noting what the songwriter says he can bring to the table and what he says must come from the LORD.
First, says the psalmist, I will tell you of my ways. When I’m struggling, when I’m out of gas, when sorrow overwhelms me, I will recount to You what You already know as the omniscient God. I will fill-in for You the details of my circumstance–circumstance which has only come to me as it has already passed through Your hands. I will relate believing You will respond.
I will also meditate on your wondrous works. Pause and reflect on what Your hand has already accomplished. Be still and know that You are God.
What’s more, I will determine to take the road of faithfulness. Having set Your precepts before me as my map, I’ll determine not to lose my grip on them nor, as much as lies within me, waver from where they lead. That’s what I can contribute to this journey. But it won’t be enough.
Give me life according to Your promises . . . train me in Your statutes . . . make me understand Your ways . . . strengthen me according to Your word . . . graciously teach me Your law! My sincere desire and best effort will only bear fruit as it is watered with Your divine provision. As “I grasp and cling to whatever You tell me; GOD, don’t let me down!” (v. 31 MSG)
Presumptuous to call it a partnership? Sounds that way when you think of the nature of the two partners involved. But if the songwriter’s inspired portrait of the dynamic involved in God’s word becoming our way is to be believed–and it is–then partnership seems to an appropriate way to look at it.
Not that we earn a response from God because of our effort. Not that He owes us anything because we’ve gutted it out. Instead, He graciously illuminates His word for us when we desire to know Him and His ways. He condescends to open our understanding when we strain our brains to grasp the high and lofty things of the kingdom of heaven. He lovingly, patiently leads us as we seek to follow Him. We bring what we can to the game by faith so that He might lead us forth in victory by His power.
I will run in the way of Your commandments
when You enlarge my heart! (Psalm 119:32 ESV)
I will run when You enlarge. I will sojourn if You’ll provide the direction. I will press on as You enable. I will move my feet if You will work in my heart. I will delight in Your ways if You will arouse my affections.
A divine partnership? I’m thinkin’. But even what I bring, He’s supplied.
All through His overflowing grace. All for His everlasting glory.