Bread – Over-Confidence

August 2, 2013

Readings for Friday, August 2, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: 2 Sam. 5:1-12; Acts 17:1-15; Mark 7:24-37; Psalms 69,73


One thing you can say about the Bible is that it presents the unvarnished life of all types of people. In today’s reading from 2 Samuel, there is a message to us about those who would be over-confident, particularly when that confidence is in themselves and their works.

The situation is this: David has been crowned king over both Judah and Israel. He is in Hebron and decides that he needs a capital city. He sets his sights on Jerusalem. This is the same place once ruled over by Melchizedek (king of Salem) (Gen. 14:18) and then taken over by the Jebusites later (1 Chron. 11:4). When David decided to make Jerusalem (then called Jebus) his capital city, it was occupied by the Jebusites.

Here is where the over-confidence comes in. The Jebusites had heavily fortified the city. They so much believed in themselves and their works (the fortifications) that they basically told David that they would be effectively defended by the “blind and the lame.” Their over-confidence was rewarded by seizure of the city by David, when his general, Joab, snuck into the city through the water system and then opened the gates for David and his forces (1 Chron. 11:6).

In and of itself, this story is like so many in warfare, where a seemingly impregnable fortress is overrun by the simplest of tricks. There is a gap in the defenses somewhere, and a crafty general can figure out where it is and exploit it.

Why do we have such a hard time seeing in this wartime story ourselves? Isn’t Satan the craftiest general there is? Aren’t we always depending upon our defenses, built by us and sustained by us, of our own design and under our own power? Isn’t our greatest fall, whether it be into poverty, loneliness, depression, anxiety, addiction, or other loss, always occur when our defenses fail because of a chink in the armor, exploitable by our enemies, chief among which is Satan himself? Doesn’t our over-confidence in ourselves and our works always result in the fall of our Jerusalem, our walled, fortified city?

The answer is, of course, “of course.” We know that nothing is perfect and that anything we build with our hands and minds has a hidden flaw, ready to be exposed at the time of trial. We know it, but we build our forts anyway and we rely on ourselves anyway. And then, just like the Jebusites, we brag about it. We act like we have power, authority, money, position, ability, education, and desire to overcome everything – and that, because we have these things, nothing bad can happen.

So, knowing this, why are we confident in ourselves, much less over-confident in ourselves?

There is actually an easy answer to this question for those in Christ, but it involves a double-clutch of thinking, which is surprisingly very hard for us humans. The first clutch in this race toward safety is to be able to say in the mirror “I have no confidence in myself.” The second clutch in the race is then say in the mirror “But I have faith in Jesus Christ, in God, that He can, has, and will deliver me for all eternity from my sin.” Then we can say with all assurance – “I have confidence in myself in Jesus.” Another way of saying this is to say that “Me=nothing,” but “Me in Jesus=Everything”).

So, can one be over-confident when they are in Jesus? No, which is why we need to stay there, in His arms. When we begin to believe that we, on our own, can do it – that is the over-confidence in our own fortifications which is exploited by Satan to bring us down.

Who are you relying upon today? To the extent it is yourself or other people, be careful because Satan is creeping up the water pipes to bring down your kingdom. To the extent it is Christ, your fortifications are strong. Any confidence in yourself alone is over-confidence. There can be no over-confidence in Christ, because He has won the victory for us and, therefore, our faith in Him is just simply well-placed.


© 2013 GBF


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