No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes
by his great strength . . . But the eyes of the Lord are on those
who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to
deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.
—Psalm 33:16, 18–19
It is hard not to be impressed by the stature of a prince or king or president. He is surrounded by his armies and protected by his staff. When he speaks, the people listen; when he is angered, people tremble. And yet the strongest leader in the greatest nation is nothing compared to the strength of God: “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength” (1 Corinthians 1:25). David says, “It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect” (2 Samuel 22:33).
We can easily confuse the strength God confers on men with a human strength. Stalin, at the height of his power in the Soviet Union, reportedly asked with an air of sarcasm, “Where are the Pope’s armies?” We might ask the same question today, but only in reverse: “Where is Stalin? Where is the Soviet Union? Where are the statues? Where are the adoring crowds?”
In the end, Stalin and others like him proved by their own mortality to be merely human. It is clear Stalin did not lean on the Lord for his strength and his salvation and that all the monuments and statues built to commemorate his greatness and grandeur sat as ironic silent sentinels on the day of his death. When a leader shows genuine humility and displays, through his actions, wisdom, and temperance, then it is highly probable that this leader knows where his strength comes from.
—Eric Kampmann, Signposts