Jesus tried to make this truth very clear to His disciples: “Without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). He is the Vine; we are the branches. If we are not joined to the Vine, we are cut off from His life-giving flow of power. Instead of producing fruit, we will wither and die. Only as we are linked to His life in Christ Jesus, can God “command our strength.”
GOD COMMANDS OUR STRENGTH
“Your God has commanded your strength…” (Ps 68:28). This is not a reference to our strength; it is a reference to God’s strength. Apart from Him, we have no strength to command. Before meeting Jesus, we had no spiritual life and no spiritual strength. Therefore, if we look to any other source than the Lord for our life-power, we will be disappointed.
As sinners, we needed the power of God to save us from our sins. As Christians, we still need the power of God in order to grow in grace, and battle against the world, the flesh and the devil. It is impossible to begin in the spirit and go on in the flesh. We cannot rely upon our will-power, reason or emotions to live a life of triumph in Christ. If we try to draw upon our own strength, we will succeed only in wearing ourselves out. We cannot draw water from a well that is dry!
God knows us better than we know ourselves. He will never command us to exercise power we do not possess. David wrote, “For He knows our frame [how we are made]; He remembers that we are dust” (Ps 103:14).
COMMAND: ITS FOURFOLD MEANING
When God “commands”our strength, He is not asking us to draw upon our own resources. Rather, He is offering us the power of His presence. The Hebrew word for “command” is tsavah. It has at least four meanings:
1. To send a messenger
2. To appoint
3. To give charge
4. To put in order
Each of these thoughts has a slightly different meaning. All reveal a picture of God giving to us of His strength. God has “appointed” or set forth His strength for us in a special and personal way. He has “charged” or commanded that divine power be ready for our every need. It has been divinely “ordered” and arranged in Heaven for our benefit here on earth. We do not have to beg for something that God has already provided. Paul was taught this truth by the Lord Himself during a time of great personal need. Jesus simply said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2Cor 12:9).
ANGELS: MINISTERS OF DIVINE STRENGTH
God also appoints or sends forth His special “messengers” to minister divine strength. “Are they [angels] not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?” (Heb 1:14; see also Psalm 104:4). Beginning with the story of Jacob’s ladder (Gen 28:10-12), the role of angels is found all throughout Scripture. They are seen under God’s orders to minister to man in his time of need and weakness.