Psalm 147:10-11 – His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love. (ESV)
As a child, my older brother owned a horse, Prince. He raised it from a foal and trained it to start running the minute he put his foot in the stirrup. Then they would gallop on down the road. Prince's strength and power were definitely visible. He was doing what he was trained to do. He impressed my brother with his strength.
After my brother left home, no-one rode Prince. One day, I walked out into the pasture, and my other brother helped me onto Prince. There was no saddle, no bridle, no reins, nothing — just bare back, with nothing to hold onto. Prince walked along slowly for a short distance, and then, all of a sudden, he took off, and I landed on the ground. He was still showing his strength, but it didn't impress me at all.
So many times, we try to impress others with our strength. Strength can be shown in many ways. It could be in stuffing our emotions so that no-one can see how badly we are hurting. It could be in lashing out at someone so they can't see our weakness in that area. It could be in using verbal abuse to protect ourselves. We ourselves might see those things as strengths — but not everyone does.
Psalm 51:17 – My sacrifice is a humble spirit, O God; you will not reject a humble and repentant heart. (GNB)
The Lord doesn't take pleasure in our supposed strengths. What pleases Him is that we fear Him and that we are steadfast in His love. What pleases Him is a humble spirit and a repentant heart.
Prayer: Father God, how easy it is to fall into the trap of showing strength, when it may not be strength in Your sight at all. God, You take pleasure in those who fear You, in those who hope in Your love. You will not reject a humble and repentant heart. Help us to recognize our supposed strengths that we use to protect ourselves. Expose these to us, we pray. Help us to be honest about them and confess them to You. Thank You that You accept a repentant heart. Amen.