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.
It is a good thing to be learned and wise, and the more you can cultivate your minds, the better, but remember the words of the Apostle—”Not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called.” And, oftentimes, the wisdom which is merely that of the mind may even prove like scales upon the spiritual eyes, hiding from the soul the blessed sight which alone can save it! It is true mentally as well as physically, that the Lord takes no pleasure in any of the faculties which a man possesses if he is destitute of Grace.
Another thing in which the Lord takes no pleasure is that self-reliance which is much cried up nowadays. This is only another form of “the strength of the horse” and “the legs of a man.” Some persons proudly say that they are self-made men—and I generally find that they worship their makers. Having made themselves, they are peculiarly devoted to themselves. But a man who is self-made is badly made! If God does not make him anew, it would have been better for him never to have been made!
That which comes of man is but a polluted stream from an impure source—out of evil comes evil, and from a depraved nature comes depravity. It is only when God makes us new creatures in Christ Jesus that it is any joy for us to be creatures at all! And all the praise must be given to Him. “It is He that has made us, and not we ourselves,” if this day, “we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.” Therefore, although you should exercise every faculty that you possess and push with might and main in the battle of life, do not rely on yourself.
It is foolish to worship a god of wood, or of stone. It is equally foolish to worship a god of flesh. And it is mostfool-ish when that god of flesh is yourself! Worship the Lord, trust in God—”Trust in Him at all times; you people, pour out your heart before Him.” “Cursed is the man that trusts in man, and makes flesh his arm, and whose heart departs from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good comes; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.
Blessed is the man that trusts in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreads out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat comes, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.” The Lord takes not pleasure in the boastful self-dependence wherein some glory. Nor, dear Friends, do I think that God takes pleasure in any mere capacity for service which exists in any of us, whoever we may be.
“The strength of the horse” and, “the legs of a man” do but set forth what I now intend to speak of. Suppose a man is a child of God and a preacher of the Word—and that he possesses peculiar gifts to set forth the Truth of God—let him not, therefore, exalt himself, for in mere capacity, even though it is the capacity to preach the Gospel, God takes no pleasure! A preacher has a talent which brings with it great responsibility—it will not be a blessing bringing a reward unless Grace is given to him to use it to his Lord’s Glory! (source)