There’s just something in our human nature that seeks after stability, an established foundation where we might build in security and faith. We like to know what we have to work with and how best to manipulate those factors to ensure a sense of comfort and self-certainty.
In 2 Samuel 24, David found himself in a similar place. Longing for the security a national census might procure, David sent some commanders of his army on a nine month journey to count all the valiant men across Israel and Judah. The total reached over 1,000,000 able-bodied, fighting men. This was the assurance David needed, the hope he was looking for. The land he ruled was more than capable of standing on its own.
In verse 10, however, we see where David regrets his decision to count the number of men. He says to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. But now, O Lord, please take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have acted very foolishly.”
David was beginning to understand that his security did not come from numbers. Instead, his peace was meant to come from the Lord of lords who had brought him to this place of leadership and power. David had allowed his pride to drive his thinking and acting rather than his faith in God. His desire to feel stable and sure overrode his trust and belief that God was and is the One who exalts and brings down.
Colossians 1:17 reads, “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
What I love about this verse is that there is no “but” after it. There are no additional phrases to modify the first two truths. They are absolute, they need no further explanation. God is before all. God is the sustainer of all.
If we were able to grasp the powerful truth behind these declarations, we would perceive and experience the instabilities of life differently. We would remember that the God who is before all and the God who holds the whole world in the palm of His hand is walking alongside us. He has not abandoned us to our own futile resources but rather guides us moment by moment if we would just tap into His heart. The Holy Spirit dwelling inside of us longs to be our peace and comfort, but He will never force these upon us. Just like living in the instability of our own understanding is a choice, so is living in the constant peace of God. We control how we live.