Yehowah Ezer – God my Help
The Living Word was written down to remind us of God’s ready help to His people in times of distress as also to be Ebenezer, a mark to assure us of fulfillment of His promises in future too.

Yehowah Ezer – God my Help

       David called God as his strength, shield and hiding place but besides this he also terms God as his help. A God who created everything with His might becomes ready to be a Helper to a man for this is accepted and recorded in the Scripture for our benefit. Also we read about many instances when God steps forward to intervene in various situations in answer to our prayers to help us escape out of the same. Is God really readily available to mankind as a help in times of need?

        Why should man need help in life situations? –  God had inspected whole of creation and declared it to be ‘very good’ but then He declared ‘it is not good for man to be alone, I shall make him an ‘ezer kenegdo’ (Genesis 2:18). As per Hebrew Scholar Robert Alter a woman is to be ‘a sustainer beside man’. Ezer means ‘one who helps’ and this is not some menial helper but the ‘One who sustains’. After completion of the whole creation process with Eve beside Adam, God did not leave them alone but visited them everyday to teach and counsel them. But God wanted a partner for Adam to be with him always, a partner who would help, guide, protect and ‘encamp around him’ to be his soul-help/soul-mate.

       Word ‘Ezer’ is used twenty other times in the Old Testament and it is always about God, when one needs help in a desperate situation. ‘There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, who rides across the heavens to help you and on the clouds in his majesty.’ And then again, ‘Blessed are you, Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord? He is your shield and helper and your glorious sword’ (Deuteronomy 33:26 & 29). In Psalms 20:1-2; 33:20; 115:9-11 and 121:1-2 – the Maker of heaven and earth, LORD the God of Jacob is called ‘help and shield’ and  everywhere it is about life and death with God as our only hope. ‘Ezer’ could then be translated better as one who is a lifesaver and not some ordinary help and ‘kenegdo’ means ‘alongside’ opposite to or a counterpart’ and this is what a woman’s role is all about.

       Why did God become ‘Ezer’ for mankind? – First, The task assigned to mankind is not an easy one (Genesis 1:28) for the opponent was ‘seal of perfection; created perfect in his ways’ (Ezekiel 28:12-15) and a very intelligent but a deceiver after ‘inequity was found in him’. Adam and Eve fell prey to his deception and Joseph, Moses, Abraham, Deborah, Esther or David or Elijah, any of the friends of God from the Old Testament or Mary, Peter, James, Paul and others in the New Testament are examples of the difficulties of life. Being surrounded by evil we face a life full of risks and many dangers.

        Second, the enemy of man lies within him for after the fall we succumbed to the forces of evil who today not only surround us but are ever trying to assert complete control over every aspect of our lives. We are not only at battle against the devil but also against the flesh, and each of these are mighty to overpower us leaving us incapable of fighting in our own capability and strength. As per Jewish faith a man has ‘yetzer tov’ the desire to do good and ‘yetzer hara’ the desire to do evil and there is a continuous fight between the two. We need the powerful hand of God to work in our lives to overcome ‘yetzer hara’. We need Him to fight our battles with the devil as also with our desires and He mercifully becomes our ‘Ezer’. ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea’ (Psalm 46:1-2). Moses was told about the ordained blessings from God, ‘The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace’ (Numbers 6:24-26). The High Priest was to bless the people in this manner for God as Jehovah Ezer is ready to do all this and more.

        How does God as Jehowah Ezer help us? – First we must understand the nature of Jehowah, who is ready to be our help in times of trouble. ‘By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which were visible’ (Hebrews 11:3). ‘In the beginning God made heavens and the earth’ (Genesis 1:1) and the God who created everything from nothing is the one who is by our side to empower us to not look back towards the problems that are chasing us but to step forward and walk through the Red Sea on dry land. During the reign of king Asa, Zerah the Ethiopian came out against them with an army of a million men and three hundred chariots against Asa’s army of only two hundred and eighty thousand. King Asa cried out to the LORD his God, ‘LORD it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us, O LORD our God for we rest on You’. And God answered Asa’a prayer and ‘So the LORD struck the Ethiopians before Asa and Judah, and the Ethiopians fled’ (II Chronicles 14:9-12).

         King David knew his God well to declare, ‘Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield’ (Psalm 33:20). God encompasses us from all sides as a helper and shield and an example of this is visible in His presence. The Seraphim moved in any direction without turning aside and they had eyes all around and wherever the Spirit wanted to go, they went (Ezekiel 1:17-18 & 20). God is omnipresent and is in control of everything everywhere, so I will declare ‘The LORD is for me; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’ (Psalm 118:6). When walking in obedience to the will of God, we go boldly forward with no fear of man or the demonic forces of evil. We are assured, ‘What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?’ (Romans 8:31). The seventy returned from visiting the assigned area with Lord Jesus’ message of salvation, to exclaim, ‘Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name’. And in turn the Savior Lord granted more power ‘to trample on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy’ (Luke 10:17).

       Is God ever ready to fight our battles? – No, He trains us and then gives us the weapons of war to fight. David, yet a teenager, told Saul about having killed a lion and a bear and his readiness to fight Goliath, the giant for ‘The LORD, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine’ (1 Samuel 17:34-37). David as a young shepherd tended to his father’s sheep, worshipped God through music and was trained for the day of battle against Goliath and much more he would later face. Our God is the Rock, He is unchangeable and will always be the same as He was, a loving Father who comes looking for His lost children. He kept on sending word through His chosen prophets to urge the Israelites to repent and return to Him. God intervenes for us to give us victory in battles that He knows we are not ready and unable to fight on our own. ‘But when the right time had come, God sent forth His Son’ to die for us and redeem us from the clutches of sin and the devil (Galatians 4:4-5).  

         God empowers us and His Holy Spirit teaches and reminds us to fulfill what God desires from us. Lord Jesus assured that ‘the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name; He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you’ (John 14:26). God commanded Adam and Eve to ‘subdue the earth’ (Genesis 1:28) and Lord Jesus commanded the believers to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20). The Lamb of God finally has promised great rewards to those who ‘overcome’ the evil or ‘yetzer hara’ and for this the Holy Spirit empowers us to enforce the promises of God (Revelation 2-3). God requires of us, ‘In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight’ (Proverbs 3:6). Apostle Peter, after receiving Lord Jesus’ permission stepped out of the boat to walk on water but began to sink when he turned his focus from the Lord to the storm (Matthew 14:30). During desperate times, we like him, are required to just cry out ‘Lord, save me’ and He reaches out to our rescue.

       Lord Jesus calls us His friends for He has revealed all things that He heard from the Father to us to develop a close relationship (John 15:15). Seated on the right hand of God the Father, Lord Jesus is our Advocate with the Father and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for our only, but also for those of the whole world’ (1John 2:1-2). He has become our Jehovah Ezer for whoever believes on Him. Joshua believed and in the power of Jehowah Ezer could stop the sun and moon for the time that his forces ‘had revenge upon their enemies’ (Joshua 10:12-13).

         How to receive God’s help in times of distress – God recognized Job as a ‘blameless and upright man’ and ‘that there is none like him on the earth’ and thereafter his trials start and he loses everything (Job 1:8-12). – Scripture does not guarantee a life free from lack and suffering for we are surrounded by evil all around and in our weaker moments we provide control to the devil through our sins. Though the LORD God assures us about His plan of hope, future and peace yet He commands that ‘Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me and I will listen to you’ (Jeremiah 29:11-13). Apostle Peter cried out to the Lord and was rescued from drowning and we are to do the same.

        ‘Then Samuel set a stone, and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and called the name of it Eben-ezer, saying, ‘Thus far the LORD has helped us’ (1 Samuel 7:12).  There are many such memorial marks set up in the Scripture. After crossing the flooded river Jordan, Joshua set up twelve stones from the river bed to set up a place of remembrance (Joshua 4:8-9); Jacob set up a stone to mark ‘Bethel’, the house of God (Genesis 35:14-15). Eben-ezer is about acknowledging God’s hand of blessings in the past and the various ways He has helped us to be assured of His Divine help in the future. And then came the sacred Eben-ezer that is not fixed on the ground but in the hearts of all believers.  Lord Jesus established the sacred Holy Communion followed by the caution, ‘the hand of My betrayer is with Me on the table’ (Luke 22:19:21). There are three important aspects of Eben-ezer.

       First, the spot where the stone was set up – Twenty years before this, two priests of the Lord, Hophni and Phinehas were slain on that ground and the Ark of the Lord taken by the Philistines. Lord Jesus’ chosen disciple fell prey to the temptation of the devil to betray his Lord after sharing a meal with Him. We must remember our defeats and acknowledge that we tried on our own strength and stumbled while forgetting the strength and power available from the Holy Spirit and the Scripture. The Rock of our salvation was forgotten but He did not forget us. The spot must also remind us of our sins that prevailed over Judas Iscariot and us also for we also betray the Savior Lord by continuing in unrepentant sin. The spot must also remind of our sorrows like Judas felt remorse but then committed suicide. The Eben-ezer set up by the Lord while sharing the last supper with the disciples, before becoming the place of victory, must be the place of our repentance. The Israelites fasted and cried out, ‘We have sinned against the LORD’ and the place was a place of lamentation before becoming a place of victory for them and so it must be for each of us (1 Samuel 7:2-6). The place must be the place of humble thankfulness. The Israelites said to Prophet Samuel, ‘Do not cease to cry out to the LORD our God for us’. While walking up to the Lord ’s Table I must also surrender in humility and thankfulness to remember ‘This far the Lord has helped me’.

      Second, the occasion when the stone was set up – The Israelite tribes had gathered together to worship while the Philistines suspected a revolt and decided to attack them. Prophet Samuel asked for a lamb to be brought and offered a sacrifice to the LORD to be answered by thunder to confuse and rout the Philistines. In the same manner the victory was obtained by ‘The Lamb of God’ and as before, the blessings began to pour out on the beneficiaries, the believers, to ‘rout the enemy’ and his forces of darkness. The Israelites attacked a far larger army after the lamb was offered and in remembrance of the sacrifice of the Lamb of God we are also equipped with power from the indwelling Holy Spirit to ‘resist the devil’ and his army to make them flee. The glory must be given to the Lord who has ascended up on high ‘leading the captivity captive’ and makes intercession for us. We must remember ‘this far the LORD has helped us’ and as per His promise He remains with us to shepherd us into His glory. Prophet Samuel was asked by the Israelites, ‘Cease not to cry unto the LORD for us’ and Lord Jesus never initiated anything without ‘looking unto heaven’ to seek the Father’s blessings. The power of prayer can never be overemphasized and in this power the Israelites went out to fight the Philistines. It is in answer to our prayers that God fights for us and through us.  

        Third, is about the reason of putting up Eben-ezer – Prophet Samuel declared, ‘This far the LORD has helped us’ and we look back to various ways that He has stood by us through various situations. But then this is not the end for there is more to come. The Savior Lord’s command is ‘do this in remembrance of Me’, I have chosen you and brought you this far but ‘I shall be with you to the end of the age’. Look back and remember, celebrate the present but there are more temptations, more trials, more joys, more prayers, more answers and more triumphs. Create another milestone to remember and be grateful for His help ‘thus far’.

       Finally, I must pour some oil on Eben-ezer, Jacob did it and called upon the LORD but where and how do I do it? Let us break our Alabaster boxes to glorify Him, come out of our own precious shells of self importance and arrogance to pour out prayers from grateful hearts and prayerful spirits to offer humble thanksgiving for what the Lord has done. And then with King David cry out, ‘The LORD is my strength and my shield, my heart trusted in Him and I am helped’ (Psalm 28:7).

         ‘God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all’ (1 John 1:5), everything bright and clear, nothing hidden, ever ready to reach out to help those who call out to Him. Various festivals were initiated by God to make the Israelites remember ‘thus far the LORD has helped us’ and to seek His Divine help for the future too. Look back, celebrate the present remaining filled with the hope for the future.    

       And unto God, Yehowah Ezer, be the glory, now and forever. Amen!

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