Recognize That We Need God!
Yael Eckstein | June 26, 2023
He went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The LORD is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.” — 2 Chronicles 15:2
In Judaism, faith is more a verb; it is something that we do, rather than something we have. These devotions explore the idea of faith as living out our lives in a way that reflects our belief and trust in God. Enjoy!
Three times a day, when Jews pray, the centerpiece of our prayers is the Amidah, or “standing prayer.” We stand and recite 19 blessings, praising God, beseeching Him for our every need, and thanking Him for everything in our lives. The longest of these blessings is called Modim, “We are thankful,” in which we thank God for everything we have.
The Hebrew word that begins this prayer, modim, like the modern Hebrew word for “thank you,” todah, is from the verb root hoda. But this root doesn’t only mean “thanks.” It also means “to admit,” like admitting a mistake or a deficiency.
When we thank God, we are saying, in effect, that we admit that we could not have had any successes without Him. We recognize our own deficiencies and our inability to produce these blessings on our own. So thanking God is also an admission of our own human weakness. And that’s why it’s so important to thank God. After all, God doesn’t need our thanks.
Recognize That We Need God!
We see this message in the tragic end of the life of King Asa, an otherwise righteous leader of Israel. Early in his reign, King Asa had prayed to God for victory in battle. God was with him that time and the king was victorious. But the prophet Azariah had warned Asa, saying: “The LORD is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.”
Unfortunately, this is exactly what happened. Later in Asa’s reign, he was once again forced into battle. Only this time, instead of praying to God, Asa relied only on his own might and the help of those around him. While Asa was victorious in battle, because he had forsaken God, Asa was severely punished.
Asa developed a disease in his feet from which he died. Jewish tradition teaches that Asa’s lack of faith took his feet from him. God’s message to him was that he had no “standing” as king of Israel anymore.
Asa prayed only when he thought he couldn’t win on his own. He trusted his own strength when he thought he didn’t need God. Let’s remember that faith means recognizing that we need God, even when we think we have things under control on our own.
What are your greatest personal accomplishments? Take time to thank God for those things you are most proud of, remembering our success comes from Him!