Self-reliance is a culturally esteemed trait… Biblically, however, it is a trait filled with all kinds of spiritual (and practical) risks – in fact it leads to sin! Hey, complete self-reliance means “You’re on your own, baby!” with all the consequences of that! It completely rules out the guidance and help of God!
This morning during my Bible reading I read a very significant passage written by a VERY successful person in that regard, King Solomon…
The passage begins… “Unless the Lord…”
Here’s what Solomon had to say on the subject (the passage is attributed to him)… “UNLESS THE LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. UNLESS THE LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for He gives to His beloved sleep.” (Psalm 127:1-2)
Now if anyone could have demonstrated complete self-reliance, I guess it could have been Solomon! He was the incredibly successful son of Israel’s seminal king – King David. He was incredibly powerful and wealthy (read 1 Kings 3-4 in your Bible – it will blow you away!). And wise? This is what the Bible has to say, “Solomon excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom. The whole earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put into his mind.” (1 Kings 10:23-24… but read the whole passage – 1 Kings 10!) Queen of Sheba visited him and was completely blown away by his wisdom, riches and success! He was the one who built “the house” (the Temple) spoken of in Psalm 127:1. As king, he was responsible for the security and safety of Jerusalem, as well as the combined nations of Israel and Judah!
Self-reliant? No, early in his reign King Solomon was wise enough to say, “UNLESS THE LORD…” Sadly, later in his life he became sinfully self-reliant – and it led to his failure and defeat!
In the New Testament James gives this warning… “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’ – Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.” (James 4:13-16)
You know what? With Solomon, I want to be wise enough to make “Unless the Lord…” my watchword!