1 Samuel 2:9 He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.

Introductory Thoughts

The Bible repeatedly demonstrates that strength can be one’s own worst enemy. For instance, the Israelites were strong when they made the decision to keep some of the Canaanites in the land (Joshua 17:13; Judges 1:28). This decision would eventually cost the people of God dearly. Additionally, strength can be dangerous because it deceives. It leads people to think that they are more powerful and capable than they really are. In and of itself, the Bible makes it clear that strength is simply not enough: “for by strength shall no man prevail” (1 Samuel 2:9). According to the psalmist, “There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength. An horse is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength” (Psalm 33:16-17). This psalm shows the vanity of trusting in multitudes, strength, or even mighty animals for safety.

Devotional Thoughts

• (For children): The Philistines relied on the strength of their champion Goliath to defeat Israel (1 Samuel 17:3-11). David won because he knew to look to the Lord for his strength (1 Samuel 17:42-51). Nebuchadnezzar was deceived into thinking his own strength built Babylon, but God showed him differently (Daniel 4:30-33; Jeremiah 17:5).
• (For everyone): Read 2 Chronicles 26:14-23. Uzziah’s name spread far abroad because he was “marvellously helped.” What went wrong when Uzziah became strong?
• Read Ecclesiastes 9:11. Have you depended on strength in times of battle? Have you learned the disappointments of trusting your own strength in times of temptation?

Prayer Thoughts

• Ask God to remind you of the insufficiency of your strength.
• Ask the Lord to strengthen you with His strength.