Man has fancied himself strong for centuries. Early on man thought earth to be the center of all things - only to learn as man caught up to the knowledge of God - that we are only a tiny little insignificant ball of dirt on the outskirts of our own galaxy. When compared with other stars in our galaxy, we come to learn that even our mighty sun is pretty much a fairly small star that pales into insignificance compared to others around us. If one started from the center of the universe doing a random search for earth - it would take millions of centuries to randomly come to our tiny blue orb on the outer edges of the Milky Way.
Job understood true strength - as he moved from a position of having everything to one of losing everything. He lived in moments of plenty - of great health - and of a life of relative ease and comfort prior to one of the most breathtaking devastations in all of Scripture. He grasped, as few others ever have, just how precarious our supposed strength is. It was in such a moment that he turned to God and grasped "real strength." Read his own words as he contemplated standing before God and being right with Him.
" . . . how can a man be in the right before God? If one wished to dispute with Him, He could not answer Him once in a thousand times. Wise in heart and mighty in strength, Who has defied Him without harm? It is God who removes the mountains, they know not how, When He overturns them in His anger; Who shakes the earth out of its place, and its pillars tremble; Who commands the sun not to shine, and sets a seal upon the stars; Who alone stretches out the heavens and tramples down the waves of the sea; Who makes the Bear, Orion and the Pleiades, and the chambers of the south; Who does great things, unfathomable, and wondrous works without number. Were He to pass by me, I would not see Him; Were He to move past me, I would not perceive Him. Were He to snatch away, who could restrain Him? Who could say to Him, ‘What are You doing?' God will not turn back His anger; Beneath Him crouch the helpers of Rahab. How then can I answer Him and choose my words before Him? For though I were right, I could not answer; I would have to implore the mercy of my Judge." Job 9:2-15
According to what Job had learned there are some things that tell us of God's absolute power and strength. These things also helped Job to grasp just how weak he truly was - and how He needed to cry out for God's mercy for true strength to be given to him.
First - no man can dispute with God and prove Him wrong. If we tried, we would be unable to answer God even 1 in a 1000 times. God is the wise one - God is the mighty one - and for us to defy Him and debate with Him is only to harm ourselves. We do not have any wisdom that we can claim on our own. If we have any wisdom - it is because we have learned it from God by His mercy.
Second, no one can "impress" God with what they can do. All we have to do is look at Job's description of God's resume and we are rendered speechless. He removes mountains and shakes the earth so that the very pillars of the earth tremble. He can command our sun not to shine. He is the One who stretches out the heavens - so that our expanding universe seems to grow ever larger in terms that dwarf our understanding. In the end Job puts it like this, "Who does great things, unfathomable, and wondrous works without number." For us to boast of our meager achievements (even if they dwarf those of the rest of humanity) is laughable in the sight of the strength and power and wisdom of Almighty God.
Third, we cannot even perceive God unless He graciously allows it by revealing Himself to us. God is Spirit and is beyond us and our understanding. We would not even have a clue as to His existence or presence except that He chooses to manifest Himself in ways that our little pea-sized brains can understand. Our own strength and ability fall infinitely short of "getting" God.
Fourth, we can do nothing to deliver ourselves from His hand or ultimate purposes. Listen to these terrifying words Job says about God's power over us, "Were He to snatch away, who could restrain Him? Who could say to Him, ‘What are You doing?" God's power is absolute. If God so chooses to snatch us away we can do nothing to stop it. Even a protest on our part would mean nothing. Though men question His works and purposes - there really is no one who can call God to account to where God has to given some sort of answer. Within this statement is the doctrine of God's ultimate goodness and perfection. He cannot do wrong - and whatever it is that He wills - it is always what is right. Thus in the moment we decide to question Him and call Him to account - we are already wrong.
Finally, we can do nothing to alter God's righteous judgment. Here is a terrifying reality. God will judge and destroy the wicked. There is absolutely nothing they can do to render God's judgment null and void. I see fools wearing shirts and making statements that, "Only God can judge me." This is not meant to be a statement honoring God - for those who parade such things do so while living lifestyles that mock His Word and the righteousness He reveals in it. But what they do not know is that God has already judged sin. Thanks be to His graciousness that ultimately He has done this at the cross - and granted forgiveness to those who respond to the gospel with repentance and faith. In the end Job says that his only play - is to implore the mercy of his Judge.
So - how strong are we feeling now? How apt are we to tout our own abilities in light of God's revelation of Himself to Job - who went from everything to nothing within moments? The truth is we ARE weak - maybe not in comparison with others around us - but when we stand in the light of God's revelation of Who He is. Wisdom, dearest saints of God, is turning to God regularly for mercy. Wisdom, precious ones, is to regularly remember and embrace humility in His glorious, infinite presence. Wisdom is to bow before Him - lay ourselves at His feet - and rejoice in His most amazing condescension to us in the gospel of Jesus Christ. For it is only in such moments that we truly "get it" and are granted grace to move from weakness to strength by His mercies alone.
Be strong in Him and in the power of His Spirit!