Help From Above, Ps. 121:1-2
Man is certainly in need of help.
He is dependent on his environment, whatever atheists may say. Indeed some of
these godless people recant in the face of death when their total and
irreversible helplessness hits them in the face, Ps. 14:1. So for the vast
majority of people living in various communities worldwide some kind of god or
another, provides them a support-base- at least so they believe. In ancient Israel it was the Living God, or one
of those gods, the most prominent of which was Baal, I Kings 18:21-22.
In the contest that followed Baal
and his prophets lost out woefully and so did those who depended on it. The
Living God proved Himself not just as the source and author of life but also as
a consuming fire, I Kings 18:25-40, Heb. 12:29. Those who depend on false gods
and their prophets are on their own. But those who earnestly seek the help of
the Christian God will not be disappointed.
However it is not just in ancient Israel
that there were gods. They have existed all over the world, and still do, even
in our time, though there is no life in them.
Yet Satan regularly expresses himself through their priests, I Sam.
So why do men seek help from
wherever they can get it? One major
reason is human weakness or insufficiency, what Paul the Apostle describes as
the problems that are “common to man…” I Cor. 10:13.
1. Poverty. One such challenge is
poverty which ravages individuals and communities, Deut. 15:11. The most
problematic variety is the inherited type which limits the horizon of the
victims. Any offer of help, from false
priests and false prophets, are readily accepted even though it might
ultimately worsen their situation.
However when God is the source of help there is
dramatic improvement in the spiritual and material condition of the people. God
raised help for Elijah using the poor and hungry Widow of Zarepath. For
agreeing to share her last meal with the prophet, in exceptionally difficult circumstances,
God gave her a double miracle, I Kings 17:8-24. Similarly a widow of one of the
sons of the prophets, who was poor and in debt, received divine help, when it
was certain that her two sons would otherwise be taken into slavery, by the
creditors, 2 Kings 4:1-7.
2. Barrenness. It
is the desire of most married
couples to have children. Africans, in
particular, expect to reproduce themselves and thus delays in child bearing is
considered a curse much like the biblical Jews, I Sam. 1:5. Sarah like the traditional Yoruba women of
Nigeria, even proposed to her husband the adoption of a second wife, to allow
for the emergence of children she could call her own although this led to
unforeseen problems, Gen. 16:1-6, Gen. 30:1-5. For many families, then and now,
barrenness was a source of deep sorrow, especially for the wife and, very
often, a recourse to external help – to the god of fertility or the divine, I
Sam. 1:5-11, 19&20.
3. Incurable Disease. Certain types of disease are still beyond the
realm of scientific knowledge and skills. The Woman with the Issue of Blood
would certainly have bled to death if she had not obtained help from Jesus,
Matt. 9:20-22. Blind Bartimeaus was a well-known beggar and he would have
remained a begger for life if Jesus had not attended to him. The fact is that
blindness, in his day, was not treatable at all.
4. Satanic Oppression. The woman that Jesus released from satanic
slavery most probably never knew the source of her long-term ailment, which
would have left her crippled for life if Jesus, the helper of the helpless, had
not intervened, Luke 13:10-13. On the other hand if the ruler of the synagogue
had not rebuked Jesus, for breaking the law of the Sabbath, neither the woman
nor the rest of us, would have known that satan was the author of her
affliction Luke 13:15&16.
From the foregoing it is clear that help is
available to those who need it, above or below. You can receive help from other
people either because they have a giving-heart or they too expect to get from
you when they are in need. Even then human help is limited, Ps. 60:11.
Satan also offers help to those who patronize him –
people who seek power, position or wealth although, in the end, life for them
ends in misery, Job. 21:7-17.
But divine help is honest and true. When Jesus says
“Ask and it shall be given to you….” He means what He says, Matt. 7:7. Very
often, though, divine help is not unconditional. You cannot serve God and
mammon and yet expect God to come to your aid when you need Him, Lk. 16:13.
That will not happen. But He is more
than generous to those who obey and serve Him. Gen. 22:15-18.