Does God Help Those Who Sit Back or Step Forward?
“God helps those who help themselves.” Many believe this phrase was coined by American Benjamin Franklin; however, in reality, though, British philosopher, Algernon Sydney, is credited with its creation. Currently, this phrase may be a guiding principle for Americans, but does it have any importance for believers? I believe it does, pun intended, and in the following I present my argument.
Throughout Scripture the concept of emunah, the Hebrew concept of faith – trust in action, clearly indicates Yahweh, our Beloved Elohim, desires us to make the first step, take the initiative, before He acts. Where do we see this in Scripture?
Let’s go to Avraham. Here in Genesis 15:6, wherein we read, He (Avraham) believed in Adonai, and he credited it to him as righteousness. In Hebraic thought, the verb to believe, aman, is active, not passive, and connotes the action of supporting and trusting. We see this trend of thought also in Exodus 12:7,12,13 They are to take some of the blood and smear it on the two sides and top of the door-frame at the entrance of the house in which they eat it….For that night, I will pass through the land of Egypt and kill all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both men and animals; and I will execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt; I am Adonai. The blood will serve you as a sign marking the houses where you are; when I see the blood, I will pass over you — when I strike the land of Egypt, the death blow will not strike you. Then, in Exodus 14:15,16, we hear Yahweh saying, Why are you crying to me? Tell the people of Isra’el to go forward. Lift your staff, reach out with your hand over the sea, and divide it in two. The people of Isra’el will advance into the sea on dry ground. Finally, in 2 Kings 5, we read of Na’aman, the Persian captain of the guard, who came to Elisha to be cured of Tzara’at, the white scale disease, and was told to bathe in the Jordan and he would be cleansed.
In these four examples, the one receiving God’s grace, or favour – the same concept in Hebrew, was required to take the initiative. Do we see similar examples in the Apostolic Scriptures? In Luke 5:12,13, we read: Once, when Yeshua was in one of the towns, there came a man completely covered with tzara‘at. On seeing Yeshua, he fell on his face and begged him, “Sir, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Yeshua reached out his hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing! Be cleansed!” Could Adonai Yeshua have healed the man without his asking? Of course; so why did He require the man to approach first? The same question may posed of the woman with a bleeding problem, who approached Adonai Yeshua, as recorded in Luke 8. They needed to show their commitment to being healed.
Although there are no perfect analogies, the following may be used to illustrate what is meant by trust-in-action, or faith. A man, desperate for funds, pleaded and pleaded to God to be able to win the lottery. Week after week and he still did not find himself a winner. Finally, very frustrated and feeling hopeless, the man once more pleaded with God: Please allow me to win the lottery! Then a voice appeared in the man’s head – “I’d love you to win the lottery but you must do something first – BUY A TICKET.”
Beloved, after all is said, God’s will is sovereign and, as He shared with Moses, recorded in Exodus 33 – Moreover, I show favor [grace] to whomever I will, and I display mercy to whomever I will.
CONSIDER: Are you waiting for Yahweh, our Beloved God, to do something for you, without your lifting a finger? Do you believe He will show you grace and mercy, without your stepping forward and asking? Do you not believe He wants you to show your commitment?
ACTION: I urge you to step forward, display your commitment to the Rule of the Universe and the Lover of our souls. Before you petition Him for His help, proclaim your love and commitment to Him.
PRAY: Abba, Beloved Yahweh, You are the Ruler of all; You are the Supreme King of Heaven and Earth. I commit myself to you and will serve you in whatever way you wish me to serve, because I love You. In Your Beloved Name I pray.
May the God of Avraham, Isaac and Jacob bless you richly.