Isaiah 21-22

The Sin of Self-Sufficiency.

“But you never ask for help from the One who did all this. You never considered the One who planned this long ago.” ­– Isaiah 22:11b NLT

The real test of our faith is what we do in times of trouble. How we handle difficulty in our lives is a great revealer of what we believe about God. Our actions and attitudes during the trials of life say a lot about what we think about God. Hopelessness has a way of producing one of two responses: We either despair or become self-indulgent. We give up or we get busy. We throw in the towel or we throw ourselves a party. You see all these responses in the people of Judah as they encounter the armies of Babylon. As the reality of their dilemma sets in, they will respond with inexplicable merriment, trying to drown their sorrows and ignore the truth. But then they will try to take matters into their own hands. Isaiah says, “You run to the armory for your weapons. You inspect the break in the walls of Jerusalem. You store up water in the lower pool. You survey the houses and tear some down for stone to strengthen the walls. Between the city walls, you build a reservoir for water from the old pool. But you never ask for help from the One who did all this. You never considered the One who planned this long ago” (Isaiah 22:8b-11 NLT).

In the face of a crisis, the people will take matters into their own hands. Under the judgment of God, they will turn to their own ingenuity and try to solve their problem on their own, rather than repent and return to Him. Isaiah is warning them about what is going to happen. And in spite of his warnings, they will still refuse to repent. They will stubbornly resist and try to save themselves. Rather than weep and mourn, or show any signs of sorrow or repentance, they would throw a party. In the face of the overwhelming odds, they would rather go out in style, having a party, than admit their need for God. Isn’t that just like us today? In the face of financial difficulties, we would rather buy ourselves more trinkets and toys in an attempt to make us feel better, all the while going deeper into debt and aggravating our problem further. We try to solve our marital problems with money. We try to win over our kids with material things. We try to find joy in the endless pursuit of pleasure. We try to find contentment by consuming more and more.

We would rather work than worship. We would rather feast than repent. We would rather consumer than confess. And like the people of Judah, we never ask for help from the One who did all this. We never consider the One who planned all this. Trials and troubles are a great reminder of our need for God. He uses them to get our attention and draw us back to Him. But instead, we turn everywhere else but to Him. We become self-sufficient, self-indulgent, and self-centered. When we do, we reveal what we really believe about God. We show that we doubt His power, His love, His forgiveness and His ability to save. We show that our God is not who we claim Him to be. He is not in control. He is not all-powerful. He is not someone who cares and who answers our prayers. Otherwise, we would turn to Him. So what do you do in times of trouble? Where do you turn? Self-sufficiency is a sin God’s eyes. He doesn’t want to see how powerful and resourceful you are. He wants to reveal His strength in your weakness. But first we must admit our need for Him. We must confess our own self-sufficiency and our tendency to place our trust in other things. Turn to Him. Trust Him. He is waiting.

Father, the sin of self-sufficiency is hard to see and even harder to admit. I want to believe that I am just being resourceful and using the capabilities You have given me. I am just working hard and being diligent with my talents. But this morning you remind me of just how self-centered I can become. It just reveals my lack of faith in You. I doubt You can help, so I just attempt to help myself. I don’t trust You, so I place my trust elsewhere. Forgive me Lord. Open my eyes and help me see You in the midst of my trials. Help me to turn to You and trust in You in times of trouble. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men