Have you ever realized how fascinated most humans are with power? Okay, how fascinated most men are with power? As children we want the biggest, baddest toys that we dream of using to annihilate our make-believe opponents. As young adults we want the fastest car, or the most powerful computer. We stand in awe of huge machines as we watch them lift great boulders, propel naval warships, or launch a spacecraft.
We are awed by power, and we use it, but we soon learn that power is fleeting. We can no longer run the fastest race. Our computer becomes outdated. Someone builds a bigger machine. Our power fades.
David said something interesting about power. “Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God” (Psalm 62:11 ESV). Once and twice is just a Jewish way to make a solemn declaration; this is absolutely true. What is absolutely true? That power belongs to God.
We possess a degree of power for a short period of time, and we use it for good or evil. But it doesn’t belong to us. It’s like a library book. We only have it on loan for a short period of time. But power belongs to God. Since it’s His power, I’m accountable to Him for how I use what He loans me.
David began the Psalm by talking about how he needed to wait silently for God to rescue him. Evidently, David’s opponents were using their power to attack David. He pictured himself as a wobbling wall about to topple over at their onslaughts. And still David waited—silently. How could he wait like this? Because he knew that power belongs to God. The power his opponents were using didn’t belong to them. It was on loan to them from God. And whenever God so willed, He could and would take it back. So David, confident in His God, waited—silently.
This is a preview of an event of much greater significance. After Jesus had been betrayed and arrested, the Jewish leaders brought Him before Pilate. In part of his questioning, Pilate was frustrated because Jesus wasn’t answering his questions. Pilate displayed his power, stating, “Do you not know that I have authority (power) to release you and authority (power) to crucify you?” (John 19:10 ESV). Jesus responded to Pilate’s boast by saying, “You would have no authority (power) over me at all unless it had been given you from above” (John 19:11 ESV).
Jesus knew that the power Pilate was using didn’t belong to him. It had been given to him for a short period of time so that God’s plan of salvation could be carried out. So Jesus waited—silently.
We live in a world where power is on display constantly. At times, this power can be used in an attempt to intimidate us. We fear the consequences, so we give in to the one wielding the power. David, and even more, Jesus, would remind us that this person’s power is only on loan. They do not have a permanent hold on it. At a moment’s notice their power can fade into oblivion. We don’t respond to them by cowering in fear nor by displaying our power. Our power is as limited as theirs. Power belongs to God. We respond to them, confident in our God, by waiting—silently.
Senior Pastor, Gary O’Neal