Do You Know the Speed Limit?
written by Tommy Austin, Student Pastor (September 3, 2022)
He is not impressed by the strength of a horse; he does not value the power of a warrior. The Lord values those who fear him, those who put their hope in his faithful love. – Psalm 147:10-11 CSB
My wife and I travel often. This means we spend much time on the interstate. Occasionally, as we are driving down the interstate, we realize that we have not seen a speed limit sign in a while. These are slightly fearful situations. We are driving down the road not knowing the speed in which a police officer is going to hold us accountable.
Now our eyes are peeled. We are looking for the speed limit sign. This can take a while on some interstates. Although, the moment we see the speed limit sign, we experience immediate relief. Sometimes this relief comes from the realization that you were going the speed limit the entire time. Other times this relief comes from God’s providence not letting us pass a police officer during that time of ignorance because we were going way to fast.
Passages like the one mentioned above act like speed limit signs in my life. Sometimes they are reassuring. Sometimes they are re-adjusting. All the time they are relieving because they remind me of what is important.
I would like to highlight two truths from this passage that have helped me to re-adjust and be reassured in my life lately.
Human Strength Alone is not Valuable to God
This Psalm begins with a description of God as both counting the stars and healing the broken hearted. God has infinite understanding, yet He helps the oppressed. God is great and vast in power. He has the ability to rebuild entire nations if He so desires. He covers the sky with clouds. He lets rain fall on the ground. He causes grass to grow. He provides food for the animals. He is far greater than we could imagine, yet He is far more involved in our lives than we will ever truly know.
Then, in verse 10, the psalm takes a transition. We are told what this God values. First, we are told in the negative. God is not impressed by strength or power. If you think about this, it makes complete sense. If this God has infinite understanding and vastness in power, he does not need human strength or power. God can do whatever He wants, whenever He wants, however He wants. He does not need us to accomplish it.
I love that this passage says God is not impressed by the strength of horses. On the other hand, it is so easy for us to be impressed. We hear that someone makes a certain amount of money, and we are impressed. We hear that someone has accomplish a certain amount of education, and we are impressed. We see someone drive up in a specific type of vehicle, and we are impressed. This is a gracious reminder that God, the one whose opinion truly matters, is not blown away by any of our accomplishments. He does not want us on his team because we are so great. God is intimately involved in our lives because He is great. He doesn’t need us, but He wants us.
Therefore, human strength and power alone have no value to God. Actually, God is the giver of human strength and power. He could take it away if He wanted. Now let’s move on to the next truth.
God Values People that are Dependent Upon Him
When you read a job description, many positions will say that the job requires someone to be a “motivated, independent, self-starter.” This is not true in the Christian life. God desires for his people to have full dependence on Him. In a world where independence is king, that is a difficult truth to understand. We value clothes that display our personal style. We want a home with no HOA, because we do not want anyone to tell us what to do. We think there is something amazing about a musician being an independent artist, because they own everything that they create. Independence is important in our American culture. Yet, God does not desire independence. God desires that we recognize our full dependence upon him in every area of life.
In verse 11, this dependence is described as the fear of the Lord, and the fear of the Lord is described as someone putting their hope in the faithful love of God. Therefore, the Lord values those that depend upon His strength and not their own. The Lord values those that lean upon the Lord and not upon their own resources. He desires that we live with a dependence upon his commands and not upon what seems right to us.
Does this mean that the Lord is not interested in using our strengths for His purposes? Absolutely not! God is interested in using our gifts for His glory, but we must not depend upon the gifts. We must depend upon God. We must live in accordance with His commands. We must trust Him more than ourselves.
I would like to close with this illustration. Imagine you are driving down a state highway in a Mustang GT. You are driving so fast. The top is down. The wind is blowing in your hair. You are having the time of your life. Then, you see the blue lights of a police car flashing behind you. You pull over. The officer walks up to your window and ask, “Do you know how fast you were going?” In a moment of excitement, you tell him exactly how fast you were going, but then you begin to justify your speed. You tell the officer that you were just given this Mustang GT and it needs to be driven fast. It has all the specifications to be in the Fast and Furious movies!
How do you think that officer will respond? He will still give you a ticket. Why? Because even though your car could race at top speeds, you were driving on a state highway. You have a nice car, and that car looks great driving down the highway. But you must submit to the speed limit to truly thrive on the state highway that you are driving.
God has blessed his people greatly. So many people have so much! Christians have so much talent! Christians have so much money! Christians have so many resources! Yet, God is not impressed by those things. God is impressed when we use those gifts under His lordship. God is impressed when we look beyond those gifts to see the true support of our great God. God loves when His people depend upon Him!