“No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite its great strength it cannot save. But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine” (Psalm 33:16-19). This is a statement worth thinking about.
David is writing for those under threat. It is about being “saved” when threatened and about “escape” and “deliverance” when overwhelmed by an enemy or things that threaten our well-being. God is not saying to us in this Psalm that kings should not muster armies or that there is no need for a soldier to be as fit and strong as he can be. He is not saying that you and I should not do what we can to escape trouble and secure our own well-being.
What God is saying (through David) is that our best preparations without God’s help and intervention are useless. Ultimately God determines our rescue from trouble and the things that make life miserable. Large armies have been defeated by smaller armies. Strong and well-trained soldiers have been killed in a moment by small bullets. Good crops have been wiped out by locusts. But when God sees a person, nation or church whose habit is to fear him and put real hope in his unfailing love, not their own resources, he rescues them.
I am quite sure that the mark of a person, a nation, and a church that fears God and puts hope in his unfailing love is that in the face of trouble and threat they look for and expect his intervention. They don’t just get busy. They pray. They pray with reverent confidence. If people don’t pray but build armies and train soldiers and create plans and programs it is a vain hope. So, let’s make up our minds to fear God and put our hope in his unfailing love. Let’s look to God. Let’s pray. The more we practice this the better we will get at it, and the more we will experience his deliverances. It’s just the truth.