Honestly, I don’t think I’m bright enough to pickup on such stuff on my own. When this happens in my morning reading, I really do think it is an encounter of the divine kind.
I’m reading in 2Chronicles this morning and I encounter a synonym for faith that strikes me as unusual, and so I mark it with my light green colored pencil. I read on a bit more, and there it is again . . . and again . . . and again. Four times in these four chapters.
So I do a quick bit of e-concordance work and I find the word only appears 22 times in all of Scripture . . . and nowhere else does it seem to have this sense of trusting in God. Instead it’s used of resting or leaning on something. And as I noodle on it, I’m reminded that my God wants His people to Lean on Me.
Chronicle #1 – Abijah and the army of Judah, 400,000 valiant warriors, defeat Israel’s aggressor army of 800,000 (2Chron. 13). How come?
. . . because they relied on the LORD, the God of their fathers.
Chronicle #2 – After Abijah’s death, his son, Asa, reigns in his place. And, like father like son, Asa successfully defends himself with an army of 580,000 against an Ethiopian horde of “a million men and 300 chariots” (14:8-9).
And Asa cried to the LORD his God, “O LORD, there is none like You to help, between the mighty and the weak. Help us, O LORD our God, for we rely on You, and in Your name we have come against this multitude. O LORD, You are our God; let not man prevail against You.”
(2Chronicles 14:11 ESV)
Chronicle #3 – But while Asa started well, and ran well, he didn’t finish so well. In the thirty-sixth year of his reign, Israel again plays the role of aggressor against Judah. They build a great siege work against Judah. And Asa’s response is to purchase mercenary support from Syria. And the LORD, through one of His prophets, calls him on it:
At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him, “Because you relied on the king of Syria, and did not rely on the LORD your God, the army of the king of Syria has escaped you. Were not the Ethiopians and the Libyans a huge army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet because you relied on the LORD, He gave them into your hand.”
(2Chronicles 16:7-8 ESV)
Four times in four chapters, the importance of relying on God, leaning on Him, is repeated. Just me reading more into it than I should? Nope!
For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward Him.
(2Chronicles 16:9a ESV)
God is actively looking for opportunities to give strong support. Casting an omniscient gaze back and forth, He’s on the watch for hearts that rely on Him, hearts that are blameless, or at shalom, with Him. Hearts at peace, because they rely on Him . . . because they lean on Him.
Oh, to be such a heart. To trust in the Lord with all my heart, leaning not to my own understanding. Acknowledging Him in all my ways, confident–leaning on Him–to direct my paths (Prov. 3:5-6).
And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.
(Hebrews 11:6 ESV)
Rely on Me, says the LORD, Lean on Me.
By Your grace. For Your glory.