We are continuing our discussion of I Peter 5:10—But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
Today’s “S” is Strengthen. Remember the pillars in front of the Temple in Jerusalem mentioned last week. One pillar was named Jachin, meaning “God establishes,” and the other was named Boaz, meaning “In God is Strength.”
Recall: some scholars believed these pillars, called by these names, were to remind the children of Israel of the pillar of cloud and pillar of fire that guided their forefathers from Egypt.
If there is one quality we all hope to develop and maintain it is strength.
Strength of body, will, heart, mind, are goals we hope to reach and states we hope to maintain.
Athletes—football players, golfers, gymnasts, bikers, surfers—have different skills, but all of them need strength to excel in their chosen sports.
Musicians need strength in their fingers and strength in their lungs.
We all need strength to get up in the morning and go about our day, tending to our work, taking care of others, and having enough energy to keep going till it is time to rest at night.
After a period of illness, we know it is a sign we are better if we “get our strength back.”
The Bible has over 500 references to the word Strong or Strength.
One of my favorites is: Daniel 11:32. The people who do know their God shall be strong and do exploits.
Clearly, strength is an attribute and blessing God has made available to us.
And our strength is found in Him.
How often have you felt your strength ebbing, your resolve wearing away? Faced either with a sudden emergency or a burden, long endured, how often have you cried out to God for renewed strength and found it available?
Another favorite (of everyone’s) Isaiah 40:28-31.
Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
The Psalms also are especially rich in verses about strength.
Psalm 18:1. I will love thee, O, Lord my strength.
Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
Psalm 27:1. The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life. Of whom shall I be afraid?
Strength is always available from God. And yet, how often, as we go about our daily lives, doing what we know we need to do, feeling perfectly capable of carrying out our own plans, does our strength fail?
“Oh, what peace we often forfeit, oh, what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.” [“What a Friend We Have in Jesus”]
Even the strongest among us, if carrying a burden too heavy through a day too long, will feel strength ebbing away—not only our physical ability, but also our emotional tenacity. How often, because we feel we are “capable” and have enough strength of will, a stiff enough backbone, and broad enough shoulders do we look to ourselves to maintain our own strength and find ourselves failing?
No matter how strong we esteem ourselves to be, we must never rely on ourselves for continued strength, remembering, as the song says, “Stand in His strength alone. The arm of flesh may fail you. You dare not trust your own.” [“Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus”]
Our strength lies in God alone. We are strongest—strong only—when leaning on Him.
Charles Spurgeon gave these reminders:
We must, dear friends, never become weak in our communion with God. David slackened his fellowship with God, and Satan vanquished him through Bathsheba; Peter followed afar off, and soon denied his Lord.
Communion with God is the right arm of our strength; and if this be broken, we are weak as water. Without God, we can do nothing; and in proportion as we attempt to live without Him, we ruin ourselves.
We are strong because we gain our strength by prayer. When you are engaged in prayer, plead your strength, and you will get nothing; then plead your weakness, and you will prevail. There is no better plea with Divine love than weakness and pain; nothing can so prevail with the great heart of God as for your heart to faint.
The man who rises in prayer to tears and agony, and feels all the while as if he could not pray, and yet must pray,—he is the man who will see the desire of his soul.