Resources

The God Who Helps Us

I attended a Christian secondary school that was guided by Christian values. In order to give us extra motivation to hit the books, our teachers would sometimes remind us about the “most famous” verse in the Bible – “God helps those who help themselves”. In other words, they were telling us: Don’t laze around thinking that you can call on God to rescue you from the just desserts of your laziness!

The spirit behind my teachers’ exhortation was correct. The only problem is that the verse does not exist in Scripture!

God’s people intuitively know that the Bible does not sanction laziness. But we sometimes get confused when we try to square our hard work with the Biblical truth that God helps us and acts on our behalf, and that we simply need to trust Him. How can we better understand the tension between working hard and trusting fully in God who is at work to help us?

Here are two quick thoughts.

1. God helps the helpless

It is certainly not the case that God only helps us if we have done something to help ourselves. In God’s great story, time and time again God delivers His people and saves them precisely because they cannot help themselves. When Israel, the chosen people of God, were oppressed by foreign powers and could do nothing to get out of their predicament, they groaned to God. He heard their cries and sent them help (read the stories of the judges and the exodus from Egypt, e.g. Judges 2:10-19Exodus 2:23-24). The ultimate help and rescue that God has provided us comes in the shape of the cross of Calvary. The book of Romans tells us that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). Christ came to conquer the power of sin and death on our behalf, when we had absolutely no power to do that for ourselves!

The message that God helps the helpless is the central message of the good news of Christianity.

2. God’s help doesn’t make us helpless

Now before you think I’m contradicting myself here, let me clarify. When I say that we are not helpless, I mean that God’s action does not leave us resigned to fatalism. Fatalistic thinking goes something like this: Since only God can act and only God’s action is effective, it does not matter what I do. On the contrary, our active response to God matters a great deal. James 2:17-18, for instance, tells us that if we truly believe God and accept what He has done on our behalf, we will engage in right behaviour toward God and other people.

We are also not helpless in the sense that God’s help does not give us an excuse for laziness. We cannot maintain that since God is going to help us anyway, we could just sit back, take it easy and coast along. In a dramatic Biblical narrative, the prophet Samuel had gathered the Israelites to worship God and commit themselves to Him when, suddenly, their great enemy, the Philistines attacked with overwhelming force. God miraculously rescued the Israelites by sending extreme weather that sent the Philistines into a great panic (1 Samuel 7:10). However, the Israelites still had to do the hard work of engaging in battle (1 Samuel 7:11)! They still had an important part to play.

How then do we respond to God’s help?

We respond by fully trusting in God’s help and doing our best in what He has called us to. Responsible actions are not a negation of trust in God for help, but rather an expression of the fact that we are leaning on God. Faith in God does not stand in opposition to work; rather, it is the origin of all work that pleases God (Hebrews 11:6).

As we work for God and His purposes, we need to learn to turn to God in prayer for His help – not as our last resort after we have exhausted all our resources and solutions – but as our first recourse! For example, in difficult parenting situations, let us first cry out to God for His help, intervention, love and wisdom. In work crises, let us first call out to God who provides us the grace and peace we need and every spiritual resource for godliness and fruitfulness (2 Peter 1:2-8).

Dear readers, perhaps today you are in a life situation which makes it clear that you need divine intervention. Perhaps you are wondering who God is or whether He will help you. I strongly encourage you to simply call out to God today and ask for His help in your situation, whatever it may be. For “the Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth” (Psalm 145:18).

Written by Ben Sun

For further exploration in order to know the God who helps us, please check out the following resources.

 

SCRIPTURE

Psalm 18:1-19

Psalm 33:12-22

Psalm 40:1-10

Psalm 40:11-17

Isaiah 31:1

Isaiah 41:8-14

Hebrews 2:14-3:2

Hebrews 4:14-16

 

SONGS

“My Hope”, performed by Paul Baloche and Kathryn Scott: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PuKY8G9i64w

“God Will Make a Way”, by Don Moen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rSWXf2Y4z0

“He Will Carry You”, by Scott Wesley Brown: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YfciAgsZFE

“O God, Our Help in Ages Past”, a classic hymn performed by Reawaken: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuT6a5HRLo0

 

SERMONS

“He Will Come and Save You”, by Ps Edmund Wong: https://sermonresources.cefc.org.sg/file/1557

“The Battle Belongs to the Lord”, by Rev Edmund Chan: https://sermonresources.cefc.org.sg/file/1545

“Help in Times of Trial”, by Rev Tan Kay Kiong: https://sermonresources.cefc.org.sg/file/814

“Praying Our Fears”, by Rev Dr Timothy Keller: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8tdA8YMOYM

 

ARTICLES

“The Help of God in Every Step”, by Donald Macleod:

(Theologian Donald Macleod writes about the Holy Spirit being the divine Helper of God’s people.)

“Faith and Works”, by Dr Thomas Schreiner:

(New Testament scholar Thomas Schreiner talks about the relationship between having faith in God’s work and doing the work He calls us to.)

You may also like these posts...

Download this Building Fund QR Code  and upload it to your banking app via your gallery/album. 

Download this General Fund for East QR Code  and upload it to your banking app via your gallery/album. 

Download this General Fund for WDL QR Code  and upload it to your banking app via your gallery/album. 

Daily Devo

Daily Devotional Journal

Scripture:
1 Thessalonians 4:11-17; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-11
Tue, 29 November 2022

1-2 Thessalonians Revisited: Expecting the Parousia*

Observation:

What is the order of the significant eschatological events that we can
construct from these two texts?

Deeper Reflection
OUT OF THE EIGHT CHAPTERS IN 1 AND 2 THESSALONIANS, the Second Coming of Christ is mentioned in seven.45 This strong eschatological emphasis is a discipleship call to eschatological living with eschatological consciousness.We can construct the order of the significant eschatological events from the two letters. Since Paul’s time until today “the mystery of lawlessness” has been “at work” (2 Thess 2:7). Behind this visible “mystery of lawlessness” is the yet to appear invisible “man of lawlessness” – the antichrist (2 Thess 2:3). The end-times is marked by “lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold” (Matt 24:12), and the activities of “many false prophets”, behind which is “the spirit of the antichrist” (1 Jn 4:1, 3). Then comes “the apostasy” (2 Thess 2:3a) – the falling away from the faith, as “the Spirit explicitly says” will happen “in the later times” (1 Tim 4:1). And “the man of lawlessness” will appear and come into the church and try to take control of the church by carrying out further deception in it that will lead many to fall away from the faith.46 Then eventually “the coming of the Lord”, when Christ will “descend from heaven”, and “the dead in Christ will rise first”, “to meet the Lord” together with the alive believers who will be raptured and “we will always be with the Lord” (1 Thess 4:15-17).What is eschatologically most critical is that we do not fall away from the faith. We must then diligently know the truth, live faithfully by the truth and cling steadfastly to the truth. “Your Word is truth” (Jn 17:17).
44 Parousia: Greek for “coming”, and it is used as a theological term for Christ’s Second Coming (see Matt 24:3, 27, 37, 39) 45 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 2:19; 3:13; 4:13-18; 5:1-11, 23; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10; 2:1-11 46 G. K. Beale, 210
Application:

What does it mean for me to live my life eschatologically?

Prayer:
Write a prayer to God as your response from your meditation on and application of the Scriptures.
Prayer Pointers:
  • Give thanks and praise
  • Pray for pastors and staff: To minister to people with eschatological hope
  • Pray for significant people
  • Pray for those in need
  • Pray for self

Download this New Life Fund QR Code  and upload it to your banking app via your gallery/album. 

Download this General Fund for BPJ QR Code  and upload it to your banking app via your gallery/album. 

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.