David was called ‘man of God’s heart’ for he had such a close relationship with God that he could pray and expect to receive help from God in every situation in his life. He is Almighty God who created everything, yet filled with love for His creation, God is ever ready and willing to come forward to help us in every sphere of our lives. However, during difficult circumstances when we need Him the most, affected by the darkness of the trials, we start feeling separation from God. But does God, who has promised to be with us always, really desert us during difficult times?
Why do we feel alone during our trials? God boasted before the devil about Job, calling him an unique person on the earth, ‘a perfect and an upright man, one who fears God, and shuns evil’ (Job 1:7). During the test of his faith, Job lost all of his children, all of his wealth and suffered sore boils all over his body. Not able to bear his physical pain, spiritual isolation and loss of social prestige, his wife also urged him to ‘curse God and die’ (Job 2:9). In all his answers to his three friends, who held Job guilty of some hidden sins, Job expressed his pain of separation from God. ‘Oh, that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me; when His light shined upon my head, and when by His light I walked through darkness; and I was in the days of my youth, when the secret of God was upon my house; when the Almighty was yet with me’ (Job 29:2-5).
All through his discussion Job never sought restoration of his health or lost wealth but his craving was only for reestablishment of his close relationship with God. After his sin with Bathsheba, King David repented and cried out to God, ‘Cast me not away from Your presence; and take not Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of Your salvation; and uphold me with Your free Spirit’ (Psalm 51:11-12). The presence of God in the lives of both Job and David was so strong that separation from God was their biggest fear. Right from his childhood as a shepherd boy, King David had felt the hand of God helping him in every situation and he called God as ‘my Helper’ (Psalm 54:4). The Hebrew word ‘Ezer’ means ‘help, support, aid’ in times of distress and this word is used for describing the role of a woman, ‘Ezer kenegdo’, the suitable helpmeet of man. Quoting the promise of God that ‘I will not leave you nor forsake you’, Apostle Paul advises us to boldly claim that ‘God is my Helper’ (Hebrews 13:5-6). The Greek word ‘boethos’ is used and it means ‘One who runs on hearing a cry to give assistance’. God is ever ready to answer our cry for help but He routes His help through others and only to those who seek that.
God created man in His image and likeness and image can never be supposed to take the place of the original (Genesis 1:28). The serpent’s temptation of Eve was about becoming god and replace the Creator from that exalted state that He should occupy in our lives (Genesis 3:5). When Moses did not come down from the mountain and a month was past, the Israelites said to Aaron, ‘make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what is become of him’ (Exodus 32:1). The Israelites had been led by Moses but it was all under the power and authority of God, also, the Israelites looked back to the Egyptian god Apis, which was in the form of a bull. Thus they not only rejected the God of their fathers but also chose to follow an Egyptian god.
The LORD searches the heart of man (Jeremiah 17:10) and after the death of king Uzziah, Prophet Isaiah was chosen by God to reach out to His people who had turned away from Him. Prophet Isaiah was tasked to, ‘Go, and tell this people, Hear, you indeed, but understand not; and see you indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts’ (Isaiah 6:9-10). God separates Himself from His people due to hardness of their heart, as a means of correction. But God loves all of His creation and in His mercy comes looking to call out to Adam, ‘Where are you?’ and why are you not at the designated place of daily meeting? (Genesis 3:9).
God has a great plan for each and every believer but that will only become operative when we seek Him, only then, not only do we find God but He will also hear and answer our prayers (Jeremiah 29:11-13). Lord Jesus did not come to condemn the world but to redeem them from the clutches of the devil and sin to turn them to God (John 3:17). God was well aware of the self effort of Abram to produce Ishmael, yet He came to change his name and bless him with a son. In answer to Abraham’s prayer to God about saving the righteous people of Sodom, if there were any, when Lot lingered in Sodom, the angels, ‘laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him; and they brought him forth, and set him without the city’ (Genesis 19:16).
In our life many times we are placed in a situation or removed from a place by God to help us escape the danger to our spiritual, material, social and physical well being. Moses, the child, had to be shifted out of the Israelites camp to train him in the ways of Pharaoh and the Egyptians and not suffer the servile attitude of his people, to confront the same Egyptian system later. Like Job, we also suffer our perceived loss of contact with God but He is always there besides us to help, rescue and guide us in our trials.
Situations where God may be expected to intervene – The Almighty God is ‘Great in counsel, and mighty in work; for Your eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men’ (Jeremiah 32:18-19). God desires to exercise control in every area of our life to lead us on His paths and ‘for forty years You (God) sustained them (the Israelites) in the wilderness, so that they lacked nothing; their clothes did not wear out nor did their feet become swollen’. Cain was unhappy that his offering was not liked by God and the loving LORD advised him about the lurking danger, ‘sin lies at your door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it’ (Genesis 4:6-7). God warned Cain before he went and murdered his brother Abel due to jealousy.
The entire conversation between the LORD and Abraham to not destroy the righteous with the wicked was his pleas to save his nephew Lot in Sodom (Genesis 18:22-33). God probably enjoyed the bargaining by Abraham, starting from fifty, to forty five, to forty, to thirty, to twenty and right down to ten righteous men to restrain Him from destroying Sodom and Gomorrah. Hanna’s prayer to the LORD God to remove from her the curse of being barren was heard by the LORD, for her earnestness (1 Samuel 1:11). And also for her recognizing the principle of the firstborn being offered to God or to be redeemed by a sacrificial offering as established by God to Moses (Exodus 13:2).
God desires to be fully involved in every aspect of our lives and His daily visits to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden were about guiding them about their daily life. The prophetic declaration of the devil’s head being crushed by the Son of God was about helping mankind come out of sinful living, for it is impossible for man to do this on his own. Our Savior Lord became Man to fulfill that, and being aware of man’s sinful nature and temptations by Satan, assured all believers of continuous help (John 14:16-17 & 26). He declared, ‘I will pray to the Father and He will give you another Helper that He may abide with you forever’. The Holy Spirit dwells in each believer ‘to teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you’.
The three important aspects of this blessing from the Lord are, first, the Holy Spirit is ‘another Helper’ where Lord Jesus remains the first. Lord Jesus is our Advocate in heaven ‘at the right hand of God (a position of authority and power), who also intercedes for us’ (Romans 8:34). The second part is about teaching all things and the Greek word used here is ‘pas’ means all in the sense of each and every part that applies with emphasis being on ‘one piece at a time’. Clearly God the Father first ensured our salvation and then our sanctification which is about being set apart for His heavenly kingdom work. The Helper or Intercessor must speak and understand the language of two persons, first, language of God, whose Word He teaches and reveals and second, man’s language. Lord Jesus being fully Man and fully God speaks both and God the Holy Spirit having been with and in Him during His ministry also speaks both. The Holy Spirit rather blesses us with the gift of tongues to communicate with God.
Lord Jesus, having ascended into heaven with the humanly body, carries humanity with Him to represent us before God the Father as our High Priest and Advocate, speaking both languages to speak to both parties that He has reconciled through His sacrifice on the cross.
During our life here we are shown ‘as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord’ (2 Corinthians 3:18). All believers who have received Lord Jesus as their Savior are admitted into the family of God. A pastor friend in Himachal Pradesh was led by the Holy Spirit to bring into his family an orphan child working in an eatery there. Despite their best efforts and limited resources the young boy would demand the best and expensive things, better than their own children, and then after a few days go and give those to his erstwhile friends. It took a long time of perseverance in prayer that the young boy finally adjusted into his new family and finally became more than a part of his new identity. How can God let any of His children live in the same old life style of sin and also be identified with His Divine family!
Does God override free will of man to help him? Prophet Jonah was commanded by God to go to Nineveh, that great city to warn them to turn from evil (Jonah 1:2-3 & 15-17). But Jonah took a ship to flee to Tarshish and a great storm threatened the ship. The mariners cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah as being the cause of their problem. Jonah was thrown into the sea and the storm stopped. But the ‘LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah’ and at the LORD’s answer to his prayers from the fish’s belly, he was vomited out by the fish on dry land towards Nineveh. After the residents of Nineveh repented, God ‘relented from the disaster’ that was to come upon them. Jonah became angry that the Lord was merciful to the residents. God’s answer to Jonah reveals His loving nature and care for all mankind, for He is the Creator of all and loves all including those who go against His will (Jonah 4:11).
Lord Jesus identified Himself as the Good Shepherd who knows His sheep and the sheep know Him (John 10:14-16). But then He goes on to show His care for even those who do yet belong to Him for ‘these also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd’. The Almighty God knows all that we intend to do even before we attempt to move. I was presented with a copy of the Holy Bible by a pastor in Nagaland in 1978 but I never opened it and carried on committing all the evil deeds that probably I would not have, if I had read the Scripture. But God fulfills His promises and is full of patience towards us ‘not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance’ (2 Peter 3:9).
God is always well aware of all that is stored up for each one of us and keeps a watch to come in rushing immediately when we call on Him. After the miraculous feeding of the five thousand families with five loaves of bread and two fish, Lord sent the disciples in the boat and Himself ‘departed to the mountain to pray’ (Mark 6:45-51). He did not abandon them but kept a watch over them, for they were to face a storm. While praying on the mountain ‘He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them’ and ‘He came to them, walking on the sea’.
Lord Jesus has clarified all doubts about my work by saying, ‘You did not choose Me, but I chose you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide’ (John 15:16). God has Himself chosen each believer to be His follower and then decided about my being fruitful for His kingdom work. Not only that, the lasting value of my fruit is also dependent on Him. Apostle Paul further clarifies that ‘we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand’ (Ephesians 2:10. I was chosen by Him, molded by Him for the works that He had already decided, to create a lasting impact. And I was always thinking it is I who does all things whereas the Savior Lord is not only there guiding and helping me in everything but He wants ‘My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full’. He desires me to be full of joy but much more than that, that this be His joy filling me. Apostle Paul, was God’s chosen vessel to be shown ‘how many things He must suffer for My name’s sake’ (Acts 9:16). But the suffering vessel of the Lord has preached, ‘Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say, rejoice’ (Philippians 4:4). Yehowah Ezer is always there to step into my battles to help me be victorious and be filled with His joy. What more can I ask!
Despite battling the severe storm for fourteen days, with no hope of survival, Apostle Paul was full of faith in the saving help of the Lord God. And God answered that faith with word through an angel with the assuring message of no loss of life despite shipwreck. God has chosen and holds our hand to ensure that we are never alone fighting the battles of this life. He is there, always, but are we!