Jehovah, a Helper Without Equal
“From where will my help come? My help is from Jehovah, the Maker of heaven and earth.”—Ps. 121:1, 2.
1. Who is the greatest helper, and why?
THE greatest helper we can possibly have is the Creator, Jehovah God. All living things on earth continue to benefit from the natural cycles vital for life that he put into operation ages ago. Were it not for man’s greed and mismanagement of earth’s resources, this planet could comfortably support a far greater human population without hurting plant and creature life. Rightly the inspired psalmist could say of Jehovah God: “You are opening your hand and satisfying the desire of every living thing.”—Ps. 145:16.
2. How has Jehovah generally dealt with unappreciative humans?
2 Only on rare occasions has Jehovah God used his power to withhold sunshine and rain from those who acted contrary to his will. (Ex. 10:21; Amos 4:7) As a general rule, even unappreciative persons have benefited from his bountiful provisions. Jesus Christ called attention to this fact, saying: “He makes his sun rise upon wicked people and good and makes it rain upon righteous people and unrighteous.”—Matt. 5:45.
3. What encouragement can God’s servants draw from the way in which Jehovah has dealt with mankind in general?
3 If the Almighty shows such kindness even to ungrateful humans, how confident can we be that he will never forsake those who love him deeply! He “is a lover of righteousness and justice.” (Ps. 33:5) We can, therefore, be sure that he will never ignore the needs of his people nor fail to answer their cries for help. God’s faithful servant David observed: “Jehovah is near to all those calling upon him, to all those who call upon him in trueness. The desire of those fearing him he will perform, and their cry for help he will hear, and he will save them.”—Ps. 145:18, 19.
UNMATCHED POWER TO HELP
4. As is evident from Psalm 148:2-6, how great is Jehovah’s power?
4 Nothing can stop Jehovah God from helping his people. He has the ability to render aid under all circumstances. His power is so great that it can keep the physical universe in existence for all eternity. This is evident from Psalm 148:2-6, where we are told that Jehovah God keeps the sun, moon and stars “standing forever, to time indefinite.”
5. What power does Jehovah have over natural forces?
5 Yes, Jehovah controls tremendous natural forces and can use these to accomplish his will. Pointing this out to his loyal servant Job, God said: “Have you entered into the storehouses of the snow, or do you see even the storehouses of the hail, which I have kept back for the time of distress, for the day of fight and war?” (Job 38:22, 23) When it is his purpose, Jehovah, through the operation of his spirit, can even cause and control earthquakes, direct lightning and dry up seas and rivers.—1 Sam. 14:15; 2 Sam. 22:15; Ps. 66:6; 74:15.
6. How can God’s spirit come to the aid of true Christians in their time of need?
6 The holy spirit or active force is like a powerful instrument always at Jehovah’s disposal. When one of his servants faces a trialsome circumstance, the Almighty can, by means of his spirit, recall to that one’s mind Scriptural principles and aid him to see how these apply in his case. (John 14:26) In this way the individual is strengthened to endure and to preserve fine conduct. Through the use of his spirit, Jehovah God can stir the hearts and minds of his servants to respond to the needs of fellow believers, coming to their aid. (Mark 10:29, 30) By means of his spirit, Jehovah may, on occasion, even motivate rulers to do what he desires. As Proverbs 21:1 says: “A king’s heart is as streams of water in the hand of Jehovah. Everywhere that he delights to, he turns it.”
7. According to Psalm 34:7, who can Jehovah use to help his people?
7 The Most High also has at his command millions of mighty angels. (Dan. 7:10) That he uses these to aid his servants on earth is shown at Psalm 34:7, where we read: “The angel of Jehovah is camping all around those fearing him, and he rescues them.”
AN OUTSTANDING RECORD
8. What can the Biblical record of Jehovah’s saving acts do for us?
8 To give his servants a sure basis for faith in his matchless ability as a Helper, Jehovah God has provided a dependable record of many of his saving acts. That record, contained in the Bible, can do for us what a miraculous vision did for an attendant of the Hebrew prophet Elisha. This is what happened: A strong military force from Syria surrounded the Israelite city of Dothan, intent on seizing the prophet Elisha. Filled with fear, Elisha’s attendant exclaimed: “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” “Do not be afraid,” was Elisha’s reply, “for there are more who are with us than those who are with them.” Then “Elisha began to pray and say: ‘O Jehovah, open his eyes, please, that he may see.’ Immediately Jehovah opened the attendant’s eyes, so that he saw; and, look! the mountainous region was full of horses and war chariots of fire all around Elisha.” (2 Ki. 6:15-17) That miraculous vision was no delusion. Jehovah God did intervene, striking the Syrian military force with a temporary form of blindness and thereby frustrating their plans to take Elisha captive.—2 Ki. 6:18-23.
9. How did Jehovah use natural forces in behalf of the Israelites in the time of Barak?
9 Thrilling indeed are the many faith-strengthening accounts of Jehovah’s delivering his people. One of such remarkable deliverances, involving the use of natural forces, occurred at the time when the Israelites were oppressed by Canaanite King Jabin. Jehovah God raised up Barak to deliver the Israelites. Barak gathered a force of ten thousand men and took a position on Mount Tabor. Immediately Jabin’s army chief Sisera, with a far superior force of well-equipped soldiers and 900 chariots, descended upon the plain through which the Kishon courses. Then, Jehovah God came to the rescue of Barak and his men. Evidently, by means of a flood caused by a tremendous storm, Jehovah immobilized Sisera’s army. The swollen river waters turned the ground to mud. Horses and chariots sank into the mire. Sisera’s soldiers fled in terror before Barak’s men. “All the camp of Sisera fell by the edge of the sword. Not as much as one remained.” The swollen river Kishon, augmented by its tributaries, swept their dead bodies away. As for army chief Sisera, he fled on foot and perished ingloriously at the hand of a woman, Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite.—Judg. 4:12-21; 5:20, 21.
10. What examples do we have in the Scriptures of Jehovah’s using angels to help the ancient Israelites?
10 There were times when angels figured prominently in the Almighty’s great acts. “Deputations of angels” shared in bringing devastating plagues upon Egypt when Pharaoh refused to release the enslaved Israelites. (Ps. 78:43-51) Centuries later, the Assyrian army under Sennacherib threatened to capture Jerusalem, the capital of the kingdom of Judah. Since faithful King Hezekiah occupied the throne, Jehovah God did not permit this to happen. In one night, Jehovah’s angel struck down 185,000 of the Assyrian host—“every valiant, mighty man and leader and chief.” (2 Ki. 19:35; 2 Chron. 32:21) Having lost the most essential part of his army, Sennacherib was forced to abandon his plans to besiege Jerusalem.
11. What interest do angels have in members of the Christian congregation?
11 Are Jehovah’s powerful angels still willing and eager to serve in behalf of his people on earth? Most assuredly! When alerting his disciples to the seriousness of stumbling others, Jesus stressed the concern of the angels in the matter: “See to it that you men do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that their angels in heaven always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matt. 18:10) Jesus’ words do not necessarily mean that each devoted Christian has a special guardian angel assigned to him. But apparently angels are looking out for the spiritual welfare of true Christians as a whole. This is confirmed in question form at Hebrews 1:14: “Are they not all spirits for public service, sent forth to minister for those who are going to inherit salvation?” What marvelous aid is available to us through the angels!
12. How does the case of Jesus Christ illustrate the marvelous help that is available through God’s spirit?
12 The case of Jesus Christ well illustrates the wonderful help that Jehovah supplies through his spirit. A tremendous weight of responsibility rested on the Son of God. He knew that his Father had absolute confidence in him and had even foretold that he would remain a flawless integrity-keeper. Nevertheless, Jesus had to use his faculty of free choice. Any failure on his part would have meant eternal death for him, would have called into question his Father’s truthfulness and would have ruined the opportunity for imperfect humans to be liberated from sin and death. Truly, Jesus needed the strengthening power of his Father’s spirit. Completely aware of what was required of him, “Christ,” says the Bible, “offered up supplications and also petitions to the One who was able to save him out of death, with strong outcries and tears, and he was favorably heard for his godly fear.” (Heb. 5:7) The fact that Jesus maintained his perfection to the very death proves that his Father answered his cries for aid, strengthening his Son by means of His spirit.
13. What is required of us if we are to benefit from the help of God’s spirit?
13 When faced with trials, Jesus Christ’s loyal disciples can be sure of like help. (Jas. 1:2-5) However, as in the case of Jesus, this does not rule out individual choice. God’s spirit will not force anyone to take a particular course. The individual must earnestly want the spirit’s assistance. For example, a person who prays for help to resist temptation must be willing to heed the Scriptural principles that God’s spirit recalls to his mind and act in harmony with them.
14. How is God’s spirit involved in the help one may receive from fellow believers?
14 The aid that God gives may be received through fellow believers. Again, however, God’s spirit is involved, for that spirit operates upon all true Christians. When, for instance, they see one of their Christian brothers in physical or spiritual need, God’s spirit, operating on their minds and hearts, makes them aware that this need must be filled and prompts them to act accordingly.
15, 16. (a) Why do some Christians respond more readily than others in coming to the aid of fellow believers? (b) Why are fellow believers a valuable means through which needed help comes and, yet, what should we not expect?
15 Of course, whether any one individual in position to help will actually respond depends upon his being receptive to the urgings of God’s spirit. At times individuals may fail to respond to a need because of permitting self-interest to resist the spirit’s impelling power. This explains why even in the first-century Christian congregation some were far more willing and eager than were others to come to the aid of their brothers. Note what the apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians:
“You acted well in becoming sharers with me in my tribulation. In fact, you Philippians, also know that at the start of declaring the good news, when I departed from Macedonia, not a congregation took a share with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you alone; because, even in Thessalonica, you sent something to me both once and a second time for my need. Not that I am earnestly seeking the gift, but that I am earnestly seeking the fruitage that brings more credit to your account. However, I have all things in full and have an abundance. I am filled, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the things from you, a sweet-smelling odor, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God.”—Phil. 4:14-18.
16 Since the members of the Christian congregation vary as to the extent of their spiritual progress and since individual choice is involved, we cannot expect all to have the spirit of generosity to the same degree as did the Philippians. However, the fact that many are very sensitive to the leading of God’s spirit guarantees for loyal disciples of Jesus Christ a dependable avenue for aid in times of trial and stress.
17. What faculty can god’s spirit affect even in unbelievers, causing them to act in behalf of true Christians?
17 Encouraging, too, is the fact that God’s spirit can motivate persons who are not even worshipers of Jehovah to come to the aid of his servants. How is this possible? Well, man was made in God’s image. (Gen. 1:28) This means that humans in general possess certain godly qualities—justice, wisdom, love, and power of a nature superior to that of animals. Humans also have the faculty of conscience, an inward sense of right and wrong. (Rom. 2:14, 15) The holy spirit can, therefore, recall things to the mind of those who are not devoted servants of Jehovah, things that will stir their conscience to act.
18, 19. What events in the days of Mordecai and Esther illustrate that Jehovah can use unbelievers to benefit his people?
18 Take the case of King Ahasuerus (Xerxes I) in the time of Mordecai and Esther. He had given authority to Haman, one of his topmost officials, to issue a decree for the annihilation of all the Jews. Unknown to the king, this decree included his queen, Esther, who had not revealed that she was a Jewess, and her cousin Mordecai, whom Haman did not mention when recommending that the Jews be destroyed. One night thereafter Ahasuerus could not sleep and for some reason he asked for the official records to be read to him. This reading brought to his attention that Mordecai had once uncovered a plot against the king’s life. On finding out that nothing had been done to reward Mordecai, Ahasuerus had his sense of justice stirred and he determined to do something about rewarding Mordecai.—Esther 3:1-15; 6:1-3.
19 Hence, when Haman arrived early the next morning to request that Mordecai be hanged, a reversal occurred. Instead of being able to make his request, Haman was forced to bestow public honors on Mordecai. (Esther 6:4-11) This was the first step in a chain of developments that led to the issuing of a counterdecree that enabled the Jews to make a stand for their lives. Obviously, God’s hand was in the matter. At the opportune time his spirit evidently stimulated Ahasuerus’ mind to want to have the official records read to him and thereafter to correct an oversight.
20. What experience did Ezra have with King Artaxerxes and other officials?
20 Others similarly witnessed the effects that God’s active force had on the minds and hearts of persons in authority. Ezra the priest made the following acknowledgment regarding the support of Persian King Artaxerxes (Longimanus) for beautifying the temple at Jerusalem: “Blessed be Jehovah the God of our forefathers, who has put such a thing into the heart of the king, to beautify the house of Jehovah, which is in Jerusalem! And toward me he has extended loving-kindness before the king and his counselors and as respects all the mighty princes of the king.” (Ezra 7:27, 28) Note that God’s spirit evidently also moved the king’s counselors and high-ranking princes to be favorably inclined toward Ezra’s undertaking.
21. What assurance should God’s past saving acts give us?
21 How encouraging is the record of Jehovah’s helping his devoted servants in times past! It aids us to appreciate that needed help comes in a variety of ways. If it does not come in one way, it is bound to come in another way. The inspired psalmist declared: “Jehovah will not forsake his people.” (Ps. 94:14) That was the way Mordecai felt when he and his fellow countrymen were faced with a decree of annihilation. When urging his cousin Esther to plead in behalf of her people, he said: “If you are altogether silent at this time, relief and deliverance themselves will stand up for the Jews from another place.”—Esther 4:14.
22. Why should we be confident in Jehovah’s ability to help even when the situation appears hopeless from a human standpoint?
22 From a human standpoint, the situation may appear to be hopeless. Relief may seem to be impossible. However, if something is God’s will, nothing can prevent its accomplishment. Jehovah God made this very clear at the time the Israelites raised a cry of complaint about meat. His answer to be given through Moses was: “Jehovah will certainly give you meat, and you will indeed eat. You will eat, not one day nor two days nor five days nor ten days nor twenty days, but up to a month of days.” Moses reacted to say that this was impossible: “The people in the midst of whom I am are six hundred thousand men on foot, and yet you—you have said, ‘Meat I shall give them, and they will certainly eat for a month of days’! Will flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, for it to be adequate for them? Or will all the fish of the sea be caught for them, for it to be adequate for them?” Jehovah’s reply was: “The hand of Jehovah is cut short, is it? Now you will see whether what I say befalls you or not.” The hand of Jehovah was not too short. He caused a wind to drive an abundance of quail into the camp of Israel.—Num. 11:18-23, 31.
23. Should we expect Jehovah to deliver us miraculously from death or severe persecution? Why do you so answer?
23 While Jehovah God definitely can work miracles in behalf of his people, we should not expect that God will guarantee us miraculous deliverance from death or violent persecution. It may serve Jehovah’s purpose to allow some of his servants to die in faithfulness or to undergo terrible suffering, as did his firstborn Son, Jesus Christ. By enduring faithfully, God’s servants have the privilege of proving that their worship is not prompted by selfish considerations. In this way they prove that Satan’s charge, made in connection with Job, is a lie: “Everything that a man has he will give in behalf of his soul.”—Job 2:4.
24. How did Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego express the right view of Jehovah’s ability to help his servants?
24 During the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar, three Hebrew exiles in Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—expressed the right view of God’s ability to aid his servants. Faced with a sentence of death in a fiery furnace if they continued to refuse to bow before an image made by Nebuchadnezzar, they courageously stated: “If it is to be, our God whom we are serving is able to rescue us. Out of the burning fiery furnace and out of your hand, O king, he will rescue us. But if not, let it become known to you, O king, that your gods are not the ones we are serving, and the image of gold that you have set up we will not worship.”—Dan. 3:17, 18.
25. What is more important than the preservation of a person’s life for a short time, and why?
25 The preservation of any individual’s life for a short time in this system is not the truly important thing. Far more vital is maintaining an approved relationship with Jehovah God and Jesus Christ. Calling attention to this, Jesus said: “He that is fond of his soul destroys it, but he that hates his soul in this world will safeguard it for everlasting life.” (John 12:25) The person who sacrifices a good relationship with the Creator and his Son in order to prevent his suffering a premature death may for all time lose his soul—his God-given title to be a living being. On the other hand, one who may die as a loyal disciple of Jesus Christ is assured of a resurrection, with the prospect of everlasting life.
26. In doing what can we always expect help from Jehovah, and why?
26 While some of us may die as individuals at the hand of men in proof of our unswerving devotion to Jehovah God, we can be sure that Jehovah will not forsake us. He will help us to remain his approved servants. As long as we strive to serve him, our relationship with him is secure. “I am convinced,” wrote the apostle Paul, “that neither death nor life nor angels nor governments nor things now here nor things to come nor powers nor height nor depth nor any other creation will be able to separate us from God’s love that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8:38, 39) So, then, regardless of what we may face in the future, may we always rely on Jehovah’s ability to help us to preserve an approved relationship with him.
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The eyes of Elisha’s attendant were opened to see that Jehovah is a Helper without equal