The Power within Redeemed Earthen Vessels
In our previous meditation on this same verse, we saw that God has placed extraordinary heavenly treasure in ordinary earthen vessels. "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels." This is true of every person who has been redeemed by the blood of Christ. The Lord has arranged it this way so that the vessels (you and I) must rely upon the treasure (Jesus Christ), not upon ourselves: "that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us." Also, this arrangement is to bring attention and glory to the Lord, not to the vessels.
The Lord is the treasure in the "clay pot" of our redeemed humanity. He is to be the "excellent power" in our lives. He is the one we are to trust in as our strength for daily living. When the battles become fierce, trust in the Lord. "You have armed me with strength for the battle" (Psalm 18:39). When we need patience or endurance, trust in the Lord: "Strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy" (Colossians 1:11). When we need strength for our latter years, trust in the Lord. "The LORD has kept me alive…here I am this day, eighty-five years old…yet I am as strong this day as I was on the day that Moses sent me" (Joshua 14:10-11). Even in times of extreme personal weakness, His strength can be especially apparent. "I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me…For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
The temptation is to trust in our "sturdy structure" (or in those who claim to be able to strengthen or reinforce weak vessels). Our personal resources will fail, but the Lord who dwells in our hearts will not fail. "My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever" (Psalm 73:26). The world system with all of its impressive riches calls us to place our confidence in its resources. The Lord warns us that such misplaced trust becomes our downfall. "Woe to the rebellious children…who…go down to Egypt…to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh…the strength of Pharaoh shall be your shame" (Isaiah 30:1-3).
We are to trust the Lord to be our strength. "The LORD is my strength and my shield" (Psalm 28:7a). Then, we are to give the Lord glory for the strength He supplies. "My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him" (Psalm 28:7b).