When studying God’s attributes, one must ask the question, “In light of this truth, how now should I think. What am I to do?” When our humanity intersects with his divinity, what damage is left from the collision? In the case of God’s independence, this truth needs no one to impact. In fact, none of God’s attributes actually need human subjects on which to establish themselves.
The sun does not need sunburned skin to prove its majesty, and neither does God need our scorched souls to prove his worth.
And yet therein lies the complexity of it all. We have seen the light. We have experienced the warmth. He possesses no responsibility to expose us to his glory and yet he does. “What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him” (Ps. 8:4)?
When confronting the innocent sufferer Job, God asked, “Who has first given to me, that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine” (Job 41:11). If God was needy and required something as simple as a meal, he wouldn’t even ask us because all the world and its fullness belongs to him (Ps. 50:12).
God’s independence should create in us a significant insignificance.
God is completely without need and we are completely devoid of unique caliber. God doesn’t need us. God has never once been stressed out by any situation. He has never frantically paced the halls of heaven taking an angelic poll on what to do or how to do it. He has never ever started a volunteer drive and been anxious about the results.
God may appreciate our efforts, but he has never once relied upon our efforts.
Instead of allowing that truth to discourage you, it should solidify you. God doesn’t need you, but he wants you.
For Such a Time as This
Esther was a fair damsel who caught the eye of a pagan king. He had just rid himself of his previous obstinate wife (Est. 2:1) and was holding a beauty contest to determine his next partner (Est. 2:2). As a Jewish woman living in exile in an idolatrous land, she had to play it safe regarding her people and her religion. Even as queen, she was aware of the danger of upsetting the dynamics in her new family and how it could impact her people who were spread throughout the kingdom.
She played it safe until her Uncle Mordecai made known to her a plot to kill all the Jewish people (Est. 4:1). Many people recount this story and say that Esther came to the kingdom for “such a time as this.” Since she had this position and she had the power to stop this massacre, she seemed to be the savior of the people. If it weren’t for Esther, what would the people have done?
If you look at the entire phrase, you see exactly what the people would have done. Nothing. They would have done nothing. They would have anticipated the Independent God to do what only he could do. Mordecai spells it out clearly.
“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise from the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Est. 4:14).
Did you catch it? Esther wasn’t the savior. God wasn’t dependent upon her. If she didn’t play her role, someone else would step in and take over. Relief and deliverance would come from the Jews from any other potential candidate that God saw fit. Why? Because God’s plan was to keep the Jews alive. He was going to bless all the nations of the world through this people (Gen. 12:3; Is. 49:6). God’s purposes can not be thwarted (Is. 14:27; Job 42:2). They had no danger of perishing.
God didn’t need Esther, but he wanted Esther. In all honesty, I think there is more beauty in that truth than in the alternative. If God needed me, he ceases to be God and fear would instantaneously arrest my soul. But to grasp that God is not dependent upon any of us yet chooses to use us is a humbling truth of which I pray I never tire of rehearsing in my mind.
God is not needy. He is not dependent. The universe will continue the previously planned operational schedule with or without any of us.
And yet, we are invited. Oh, what glorious wonder!
God’s invitation never comes out of desperation.
He is independent, and we should stand in awe.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.