231 – THE HELP
ONE CAN ASK: Does God need the help of men? In the New Testament we find it written that God does not need help. The evangelist Luke wrote the following: “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heavens and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands: neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He himself gives to all life and breath and all things” (Acts 17:24-25). It is man who needs help from God, and not the other way around. Paul says that Christians do not know how to ask as they should, and so the Holy Spirit intercedes for them with unutterable groans (Rom. 8:26). James says in his epistle, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:3). And John advises to ask, knowing first the will of God, in order that we get what we ask(1 John 5:14). Since it is God who meets all our real needs, we should first know his will, and after that, we will be able to ask. Jesus teaches us to ask for our daily bread. A person who decides to ask for a bakery may not receive it (Matt. 6:9-11). There are Christians who promise to give God their tithe, if he will give them a chain of bakeries. The truth is that God does not need the help of man. These ones are really the poor and needy. If God needed help, men would be God’s help, but it is the other way around.
What about the god revealed in the Old Testament? Was he, perhaps, in need of the help of men? Absurd! For in the Psalms, we read, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Ps. 46:1). “I will lift up my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from Jehovah, who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved. He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. Jehovah is your keeper. Jehovah is your shade on your right hand. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. Jehovah will keep you from all evil. He will keep your soul. Jehovah will keep your going out and your coming in, from this time forth, and forevermore” (Ps. 121:1-8). We read in another Psalm, “There is no king saved by the multitude of an army. A mighty man is not delivered by great strength. A horse is a vain thing for safety, neither does he deliver any by his great power. Behold, Jehovah’s eye is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his loving kindness; to deliver their soul from death, to keep them alive in famine. Our soul has waited for Jehovah. He is our help and our shield” (Ps. 33:16-20). Jehovah has always acted with no help of anyone. He says that himself: “See now that I, I am He, and there is no god besides Me; it is I who put to death and give life, I have wounded, and it is I who heal; and there is no one who can deliver from My hand” (Deut. 32:39). Jehovah appeared to Abraham and said to him, “I am God Almighty” (Gen. 17:1). Whoever is almighty can only help, and never to be helped; can aid, and never to be aided. After the people of Israel entered Canaan, Jehovah exhorted them, saying, “Then your heart be lifted up, and you forget Yahweh your God, who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; who led you through the great and terrible wilderness, [in which were] fiery serpents and scorpions, and thirsty ground where there was no water; who brought you forth water out of the rock of flint; who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers didn’t know; that he might humble you, and that he might prove you, to do you good at your latter end: and [lest] you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand has gotten me this wealth.’” (Deut. 8:14-17). When man boasted about something, Jehovah got angry. When Sennacherib, king of the Assyrians, invaded Judah, threatened king Hezekiah, and blasphemed against Jehovah, he told Isaiah to say to Hezekiah that he was going to battle against Sennacherib and his armies. This story can be found in the 2nd book of the Kings of Israel, chapters 18 e 19. This same night the angel of Jehovah stroke 185,000 Assyrians. Sennacherib, overcome, returned to Nineveh. Desolate and cast down before his god Nisroch, his two sons, Adrammelech and Sharezer, killed him (2 Kings 19:35-37).
Truly Jehovah does not need man’s help; and therefore this is written in the Psalms, “O give us help against the adversary, for deliverance by man is in vain” (Ps. 60:11; 108:12). If man cannot help men like him, how does he think he would have authority to help Jehovah? Jehovah destroyed the whole humanity in the flood (Gen. 6:7-8). Jehovah destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah with brimstone and fire (Gen. 19:24-25). Jehovah does not accept the help of men. How could Jehovah accept the help of man, if he was under the curse since the Garden of Eden? Would Jehovah accept help from the dust? “By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Gen. 3:19).Would Jehovah accept help from the grass of the field? “Thou hast swept them away like a flood, they fall asleep; in the morning they are like grass which sprouts anew. In the morning it flourishes, and sprouts anew; towards evening it fades, and withers away. For we have been consumed by Thine anger, and by Thy wrath we have been dismayed” (Ps. 90:5-7). Would Jehovah accept help from worms? “How then can man be just with God? Or how can he who is born of a woman be clean? Behold, even the moon has no brightness, and the stars are not pure in his sight; How much less man, who is a worm, the son of man, who is a worm!” (Job. 25:4-6). Would Jehovah accept help from the unclean? “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God. They are corrupt. They have done abominable works. There is none who does good.’ Jehovah looked down from heaven on the children of men, to see if there were any who did understand, who did seek after God. They have all gone aside. They have together become corrupt. There is none who does good, no, not one” (Ps. 14:1-3). Would Jehovah accept help from dead men? Paul reveals to us that before the coming of Jesus Christ all men were dead. “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Rom. 5:12).
The Lord Jesus Christ, the incarnate God (1 John 5:20), when a disciple prepared to follow him, but first wanted to bury his father who had died, said to him, “Follow Me; and allow the dead to bury their own dead” (Matt. 8:21-22).
It it’s unbelievable, and incredible, but the truth is that Jehovah not only accepted the help of those he despised, but demanded it, threatening them with curses. There was a city named Meroz whose habitants refused to help Israel against Sisera. An angel of Jehovah, then, cried from heaven, “‘Curse Meroz,’ said the angel of Jehovah, ‘Utterly curse its inhabitants; because they did not come to the help of Jehovah, to the help of Jehovah against the warriors.’” (Judges 5:23). It is strange and paradoxical that a god who provoked a flood to destroy humanity, who destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah and the roundabout cities by fire, who killed 180,000 Assyrians in a moment’s time, would need the help of filthy and cursed worms.
The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of all mercies, and the God of all compassion (2 Cor. 1:3), sent his only-begotten Son to save all that were condemned to death by Jehovah since Adam: all the filthy worms, all the cursed of Jehovah. Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles declared, “For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the savior of all men, especially of believers” (1 Tim. 4:10).
By PASTOR OLAVO SILVEIRA PEREIRA