During our service last week, we read from Psalm 37. Later, I asked the congregation to finish this phrase: “God helps those that…” to which many responded with the common quotation, “God helps those that help themselves.” This was to be expected, as our brains naturally finish phrases all the time. But the final verse of Psalm 37 tells us that God helps those that trust in Him. And today’s passages bear that out in vivid detail.
In 1 Samuel 23, David asks for God’s guidance as to whether he should go help the city of Keilah, which was being attacked by the Philistines. God confirms that David should go and relieve Keilah of their peril. King Saul, having heard that David was in the city of Keilah, and knowing that Keilah was a fairly secure city, sent his men to go attack David. At first glance, it seems foolish that God would send David to a place where he would be vulnerable to Saul’s pursuit, but notice that God did three things in so doing. First, he did relieve Keilah of the trouble they were in. Second, he provided a way to escape by way of Abithar the priest. And finally, God allowed Jonathan to strengthen his friend in the Lord and strengthen their friendship. Those are three beneficial aspects of what could otherwise be considered a compromising situation.
Paul reiterates the idea that trusting in self is worthless when he said in 1 Corinthians 4:9-10 that God had set them as apostles and they appeared foolish from man’s perspective but that it was for the benefit of the church. Although many would have looked at Paul and Apollos as “failures,” they saw the bigger picture. Though they were despised by the world, they were used as a benefit to the church.
Ezekiel 2 actually gives us God’s instructions to Ezekiel, which shows us the same idea, but from the heavenly perspective. God tells Ezekiel that, indeed, this is God’s mission (v 3), that the people might not listen(v 5), and not to be afraid of them, even though his message will not be popular (vs 6-7). Having given these exhortations, God tells Ezekiel to not be rebellious like the people to whom he will preach, but to obey, regardless of the opposition.
Finally, in Psalm 38, we find the desperate prayer of a man who is struggling with his circumstances. Both his friends and foes wouldn’t get close to him, there were those who viciously opposed him and he appears to have been facing physical difficulties as well. Yet in spite of all of that, he says in verse 15, “For in thee, O Lord, do I hope: thou wilt hear, O lord my God.” In light of all his difficulties, many would have turned away from God, but this psalmist turned to God in his difficulty. He prays at the end of the chapter for God’s speedy aid.
And based on Psalm 37:40, we can be assured that if we trust in Him, like David, Ezekiel, and Paul, God WILL help those that trust in Him.
“And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in Him.” Psalm 37:40