Proverbs 24d

Captain Obvious.

“If you fail under pressure, your strength is too small.” – Proverbs 24:10 NLT

At first reading, this particular proverbs seems ridiculously obvious. You almost wonder why in the world something so simple got included in this book that is supposed to be a compendium of wisdom sayings. After all, it doesn’t take a genius to recognize that if you fail under pressure, your strength was too small. That’s a no-brainer. But I think Solomon has a different point he is trying to make and the proverb has a much more important message to convey. We all know that we are going to fail, become feint, grow weak, and succumb to the pressures of life. It is inevitable. We are going to face situations and circumstances that try our souls and test our strength, and there will be times when we fail under the pressure. And when those times come, they will reveal that our strength alone is not enough.

The entire Book of Proverbs is ultimately about God. It is about the wisdom, power, and sovereignty of God. It reminds us that He is the source of all that we need, from wisdom, understanding, knowledge, common sense and discernment to protection, provision and guidance. He is also to be our source of strength. God never intended for us to live this life in our own strength. He is fully aware that there will be times when our strength grows feint and our sufficiency will prove insufficient for the task. He knows there will be times when the pressure will prove too great and our strength too small. But rather than become defeated, He desires that we come to Him. He longs for us to turn to Him for strength. To run to Him for refuge. But there is also a certain strength that we gain from having spent time with Him. Just a few verses earlier, Solomon writes, “The wise are mightier than the strong, and those with knowledge grow stronger and stronger” (Proverbs 24:5 NLT). The wise are those who have had the wisdom of God instilled in their hearts. They have been equipped by God with knowledge and understanding. They have the capacity to know right from wrong, and the right paths to take in life. They have a strength that is far greater than mere physical stamina or power. It is an inner strength, a determination and drive that allows them to endure the seemingly unendurable and not only survive, but thrive. Rather than fail under pressure, they prosper, because they have learned to rely on a strength outside of themselves. They have discovered the reality that the power of God is far superior than their own strength on their best day. When we fail or falter in times of trouble, it should remind us that we are relying on a strength that is insufficient for the task. It should reveal to us that we have an inadequate power supply. And it should drive us back to the Source.

Father, the fact that I faint should not surprise me. But I should be a bit embarrassed when it happens because I have Your power available to me at all times. My faltering under times of pressure is just a wake up call that I have been living in my own strength, and not Yours. May those times grow increasingly fewer and farther between. Amen.

Ken Miller

Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org