Have you heard the phrase “God helps those who help themselves”? The problem is I cannot find this in thought, idea, or practice anywhere in the Bible!
If we could “help ourselves” wouldn’t we have done this by now? If we could “help ourselves” would we not have ended slavery, homelessness, racism, sexism, school and church shootings, crime, and the inhumanity of one person to one another person?
The whole of the Bible is the story of humankind in the pursuit of pleasure and power, always learning but never coming to the knowledge of truth, (2 Timothy 3:7). We humans broke the laws of God and released the power and destruction of the devil, the father of all lies into this world. We have proven that we cannot help ourselves.
Consider Adam and Eve (Genesis 3). When they ate from the forbidden tree, their choice opened the door to the knowledge of good and evil. The price to be paid for this knowledge was death. God placed a curse on Eve and Adam and consequently all disease, crime, hatred, pride, racism, sexism, death and whatever other ill we deal with is the direct result of this original human sin.
Sarah and Abraham believed they were helping themselves when they devised the plan to have a child by her servant Hagar (Genesis 16). They helped themselves, but the consequences of their decision are still with us in the Middle East. Jews, Christians, and Muslims all claim Abraham as their father!
Samson (Judges 13-16) was filled with God’s power and served as the ruler of the Jewish nation but neither the power of God nor Samson’s position of power was able to save himself from the consequences of his pride. Samson helped himself to every woman he desired. His pride overruled the power and anointing of God and consequently he lost his vision, leadership, influence, freedom, and his life. Does anyone believe we can help ourselves?
The Roman ruler Pontius Pilate had all of Rome’s glory, knowledge, history, wisdom, and power on his side but when he stood face to face to Jesus, he asked, “What is truth?” Knowing truth, Pilate released a known anarchist and revolutionary, Barabbas, and crucified Jesus. Pilate knew Jesus was innocent and Barabbas was guilty of his crimes but Pilate did what we do, what I have done, Pilate exchanged the truth for a lie. Does anyone really believe we can help ourselves?
Human tendency is to find someone or something to blame for tragedies. We blame God for allowing school shootings, sickness, disease, crime, and terrible inhumanity to humanity – but we did this to ourselves. Do you really believe we can help ourselves?
The apostle Paul wrote, “… because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools… For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie” (Romans 1:19-22, 25).
We live in a fallen, sin-sick world and people do what they want to do. They have time for what they want to have time for. They have money to buy what they want to buy. People say what they want to say, go where they want to go because we are human. We justify any thought, word, feeling or action. We have proven we cannot help ourselves.
So long as we continue to exchange the truth for a lie, we will never be able to “help ourselves.” We cannot help ourselves. God for He is the help we need. God helps those who cannot help themselves. Do you need help?