Much of our lives are spent cultivating alliances. Whether we call it networking, schmoozing, or politicking, we all understand the value of getting the right people on our side. This is partly because we are social creatures, who are not meant to function alone. The Lord said as much in the beginning, and created Eve as a mate for Adam, thus establishing marriage as the strongest of all human alliances.
Unfortunately many of us forget that people were initially created for an alliance far more glorious and dynamic than even marriage. We were created to glorify and enjoy God, living in fellowship with and dependence upon Him. When Adam and Eve sinned that alliance was broken for all of us, and the whole Bible is the story of God's plan to restore that alliance by His own gracious intervention.
God's grace intervened in many ways for the Children of Israel, and the Lord established Himself as a most trustworthy ally, rescuing them out of Egypt and bringing them safely into the Promised Land. But the Israelites had the same problem as we do today: they tended to trust people instead of thrusting in God. They would network, schmooze and politick with the surrounding nations in an effort to secure peace and prosperity, while forgetting the miraculous works their God had done in order to preserve them. They even seemed to forget their 400 years of slavery in Egypt, and repeatedly turned to Egypt for help when they got themselves in a bind!
Isaiah records God's response to the Israelites' habit of alliance-making:
"Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitudes of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the LORD" (Isaiah 31:1, NIV).
Partnerships and alliances with people are not wrong. Without them we would not have churches, communities or car pools. The problem is that God is often not even considered as a necessary ally. Even in our churches and our marriages we tend to think very horizontally, forgetting that no matter how competent we or our human partners are, "our help comes from the LORD who made heaven and earth."
Whatever alliances we make, the persistent call of Scripture is that we align ourselves first with God through His one and only Son, Jesus Christ. This is why the Apostle Paul can write with confidence, "If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" (Romans 8:31B, ESV).