Jehovah Is Our Helper
“My help is from Jehovah, the Maker of heaven and earth.”—PSALM 121:2.
1, 2. (a) Why can it be said that we all need help at times? (b) What kind of Helper is Jehovah?
WHO among us never needs a helping hand? The truth is that we all need help at times—to cope with a weighty problem, to endure a painful loss, to bear up under a difficult trial. When needing help, people often turn to a caring friend. Sharing a burden with such a friend may make it easier to bear. But there is only so much that a fellow human can do to help. Besides, others may not always be in a position to respond when help is needed.
2 There is, however, a Helper who has unlimited power and resources. Furthermore, he assures us that he will never forsake us. He is the One identified by the psalmist who with full confidence declared: “My help is from Jehovah.” (Psalm 121:2) Why was this psalmist convinced that Jehovah would help him? To answer that question, let us examine Psalm 121. Doing so will enable us to see why we too can confidently look to Jehovah as our Helper.
An Unfailing Source of Help
3. To which mountains may the psalmist have raised his eyes, and why?
3 The psalmist began by pointing to Jehovah’s creatorship as a basis for confidence: “I shall raise my eyes to the mountains. From where will my help come? My help is from Jehovah, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1, 2) The psalmist did not raise his eyes to just any mountain. When these words were recorded, Jehovah’s temple was situated in Jerusalem. That city, located high in the mountains of Judah, was Jehovah’s figurative place of dwelling. (Psalm 135:21) The psalmist may have raised his eyes to the mountains of Jerusalem on which Jehovah’s temple was built, confidently looking to Jehovah for help. Why was the psalmist so sure that Jehovah could help him? Because He is “the Maker of heaven and earth.” In effect, the psalmist was saying, ‘Surely there is nothing that can prevent the all-powerful Creator from helping me!’—Isaiah 40:26.
4. How did the psalmist show that Jehovah is ever alert to the needs of his people, and why is that a comforting thought?
4 The psalmist next explained that Jehovah is ever alert to the needs of his servants: “He cannot possibly allow your foot to totter. The One guarding you cannot possibly be drowsy. Look! He will not be drowsy nor go to sleep, he that is guarding Israel.” (Psalm 121:3, 4) It is not possible for God to allow those trusting in him “to totter” or to experience a fall from which they cannot recover. (Proverbs 24:16) Why not? Because Jehovah is like a wide-awake shepherd guarding his sheep. Is that not a comforting thought? Not for a moment will he close his eyes to the needs of his people. Day and night they are the objects of his vigilance.
5. Why is Jehovah said to be at the “right hand”?
5 Confident that Jehovah is the loyal Protector of his people, the psalmist wrote: “Jehovah is guarding you. Jehovah is your shade on your right hand. By day the sun itself will not strike you, nor the moon by night.” (Psalm 121:5, 6) For a traveler on foot in the Middle East, a place of shade would provide welcome protection from the blazing sun. Jehovah is like a shade to his people, protecting them from the scorching heat of calamity. Note that Jehovah is said to be at the “right hand.” In ancient warfare, the soldier’s right hand was to some extent unprotected by the shield, which was held in the left hand. A loyal friend might provide protection by standing and fighting at the soldier’s right. Like such a friend, Jehovah loyally stands beside his worshipers, ever ready to help them.
6, 7. (a) How does the psalmist assure us that Jehovah will never stop helping his people? (b) Why can we share the psalmist’s confidence?
6 Will Jehovah ever stop helping his people? The very notion is inconceivable. The psalmist concluded: “Jehovah himself will guard you against all calamity. He will guard your soul. Jehovah himself will guard your going out and your coming in from now on and to time indefinite.” (Psalm 121:7, 8) Note that the writer shifted the emphasis from the present to the future. Earlier, in Ps 121 verse 5, the psalmist said: “Jehovah is guarding you.” But in these verses, the psalmist wrote: “Jehovah himself will guard you.” True worshipers are thus assured that Jehovah’s help will extend into the future. No matter where they go, no matter what calamity they face, they will never be outside the reach of his helping hand.—Proverbs 12:21.
7 Indeed, the writer of Psalm 121 was confident that the almighty Creator watches over his servants with the gentleness of a caring shepherd and the vigilance of an alert guard. We have every reason to share the psalmist’s confidence, for Jehovah does not change. (Malachi 3:6) Does this mean that we will always receive physical protection? No, but as long as we look to him as our Helper, he will safeguard us against all things that could bring us spiritual harm. It is only natural to ask, ‘How does Jehovah help us?’ Let us examine four ways in which he does so. In this article, we will discuss how he aided his servants in Bible times. In the next article, we will consider how he helps his people today.
Help From Angels
8. Why is it not surprising that the angels have a keen interest in the welfare of God’s earthly servants?
8 Jehovah has at his command millions upon millions of angels. (Daniel 7:9, 10) These spirit sons faithfully carry out his will. (Psalm 103:20) They are well aware that Jehovah has great love for his human worshipers and that he wants to help them. Not surprisingly, the angels have a keen interest in the welfare of God’s earthly servants. (Luke 15:10) Surely, then, the angels must delight in being used by Jehovah to assist humans. In what ways did Jehovah use the angels to help his human servants in ancient times?
9. Give an example of how angels were empowered by God to protect faithful humans.
9 Angels were empowered by God to protect and deliver faithful humans. Two angels helped Lot and his daughters to escape the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. (Genesis 19:1, 15-17) A single angel slew 185,000 Assyrian soldiers who were threatening Jerusalem. (2 Kings 19:35) When Daniel was thrown into a lions’ pit, Jehovah “sent his angel and shut the mouth of the lions.” (Daniel 6:21, 22) An angel released the apostle Peter from prison. (Acts 12:6-11) The Bible mentions many other examples of angelic protection, confirming what Psalm 34:7 says: “The angel of Jehovah is camping all around those fearing him, and he rescues them.”
10. How did Jehovah use an angel to encourage the prophet Daniel?
10 On occasion, Jehovah used the angels to encourage and strengthen faithful humans. A touching example is found in Daniel chapter 10. At the time, Daniel was perhaps close to 100 years of age. The prophet was very discouraged, evidently because of the desolated state of Jerusalem and the delay in rebuilding the temple. He also became disturbed after seeing a frightening vision. (Daniel 10:2, 3, 8) God lovingly dispatched an angel to encourage him. More than once, the angel reminded Daniel that he was “very desirable” in God’s eyes. The result? The elderly prophet told the angel: “You have strengthened me.”—Daniel 10:11, 19.
11. What is one example of how angels were used to direct the work of preaching the good news?
11 Jehovah also used angels to direct the work of preaching the good news. An angel directed Philip to preach about Christ to an Ethiopian eunuch, who then got baptized. (Acts 8:26, 27, 36, 38) A short time later, it was God’s will that the good news be preached to uncircumcised Gentiles. In a vision, an angel appeared to Cornelius, a God-fearing Gentile, and directed him to send for the apostle Peter. When messengers from Cornelius found Peter, they said: “Cornelius . . . was given divine instructions by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and to hear the things you have to say.” Peter responded, and the first uncircumcised Gentiles thus became part of the Christian congregation. (Acts 10:22, 44-48) Imagine how you would feel knowing that an angel helped you to come in contact with a rightly disposed person!
Help Through Holy Spirit
12, 13. (a) Why did Jesus’ apostles have good reason to believe that the holy spirit could help them? (b) In what way did holy spirit empower the first-century Christians?
12 Shortly before he died, Jesus assured his apostles that they would not be left without help. The Father would give them a “helper, the holy spirit.” (John 14:26) The apostles had good reason to believe that the holy spirit could help them. After all, the inspired Scriptures are filled with examples of how Jehovah used holy spirit, the strongest force available, to aid his people.
13 On many occasions, holy spirit was used to empower humans to do Jehovah’s will. Holy spirit empowered the Judges to deliver Israel. (Judges 3:9, 10; 6:34) That same spirit empowered first-century Christians to continue preaching with boldness despite all manner of opposition. (Acts 1:8; 4:31) Their success in carrying out their ministry gave powerful evidence of the operation of holy spirit. What else could explain how “unlettered and ordinary” individuals could spread the Kingdom message throughout the then known world?—Acts 4:13; Colossians 1:23.
14. How has Jehovah used his holy spirit to enlighten his people?
14 Jehovah also used his holy spirit to enlighten his people. With the help of God’s spirit, Joseph was able to interpret Pharaoh’s prophetic dreams. (Genesis 41:16, 38, 39) By means of his spirit, Jehovah caused his purposes to be revealed to humble ones but hidden from proud ones. (Matthew 11:25) Thus, concerning the things Jehovah provides “for those who love him,” the apostle Paul said: “It is to us God has revealed them through his spirit.” (1 Corinthians 2:7-10) Only with the help of holy spirit could a person truly understand God’s will.
Help From God’s Word
15, 16. What was Joshua told to do in order to act wisely?
15 Jehovah’s inspired Word is “beneficial for teaching,” and it enables God’s servants to be “fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17) The Bible contains many examples of how God’s people in ancient times were helped by portions of his Word that had already been recorded.
16 The Scriptures helped to provide sound guidance for God’s worshipers. When Joshua was entrusted with the responsibility of leading Israel, he was told: “This book of the law [which had been recorded by Moses] should not depart from your mouth, and you must in an undertone read in it day and night, in order that you may take care to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way successful and then you will act wisely.” Note that God did not promise Joshua some miraculous infusion of wisdom. Rather, if Joshua read and meditated on the “book of the law,” then he would act wisely.—Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:1-3.
17. How were both Daniel and King Josiah helped by the portions of the Scriptures that were available to them?
17 God’s written Word also helped to reveal his will and purpose. Daniel, for example, discerned from Jeremiah’s writings how long Jerusalem would remain desolate. (Jeremiah 25:11; Daniel 9:2) Consider, too, what happened during the reign of King Josiah of Judah. By that time, the nation had strayed from Jehovah, and the kings had evidently failed to make a personal copy of the Law and follow it. (Deuteronomy 17:18-20) But while the temple was being repaired, “the very book of the law,” possibly by the hand of Moses, was found. This was perhaps the original text, which had been completed some 800 years earlier. After hearing its contents read, Josiah realized how far the nation had departed from Jehovah’s will, and the king took firm measures to do what was written in the book. (2 Kings 22:8; 23:1-7) Is it not clear that God’s people in ancient times were helped by the portions of the Sacred Scriptures that were available to them?
Help Through Fellow Believers
18. Why can we say that Jehovah is responsible whenever one true worshiper helps another?
18 The help that Jehovah provides often comes through fellow believers. Really, God is responsible whenever one true worshiper helps another. Why can we say that? For two reasons. First, God’s holy spirit is involved. That spirit produces fruitage, including love and goodness, in those who seek its influence. (Galatians 5:22, 23) Hence, when one of God’s servants is moved to help another, this is evidence of Jehovah’s spirit at work. Second, we are made in God’s image. (Genesis 1:26) This means that we have the ability to reflect his attributes, including his kindness and compassion. So whenever one servant of Jehovah extends help to another, the real Source of such help is the one whose likeness is being reflected.
19. According to the Bible record, how did Jehovah provide help through fellow believers?
19 In Bible times, how did Jehovah provide help through fellow believers? Jehovah often caused one of his servants to give counsel to another, as when Jeremiah gave lifesaving counsel to Baruch. (Jeremiah 45:1-5) On occasion, true worshipers were moved to provide material help to fellow believers, as when Christians in Macedonia and Achaia showed eagerness to help their needy brothers in Jerusalem. The apostle Paul noted that such generosity rightly produced “an expression of thanks to God.”—2 Corinthians 9:11.
20, 21. Under what circumstances was the apostle Paul strengthened by brothers from Rome?
20 Especially touching are accounts of how Jehovah’s servants reached out to strengthen and encourage one another. Consider an example involving the apostle Paul. While en route to Rome as a prisoner, Paul traveled along the Roman highway known as the Appian Way. The final leg of the journey was particularly unpleasant, for it brought travelers to a swampy, lowland area.* The brothers in the congregation in Rome knew that Paul was coming. What would they do? Would they wait in the comfort of their homes in the city until Paul arrived and then come to greet him?
21 Bible writer Luke, who accompanied Paul on the trip, tells us what happened: “From there [Rome] the brothers, when they heard the news about us, came to meet us as far as the Marketplace of Appius and Three Taverns.” Can you picture the scene? Knowing that Paul was coming, a delegation of brothers journeyed from Rome to meet him. Part of the delegation was waiting at the Marketplace of Appius, the well-known post station about 46 miles [74 km] outside of Rome. The rest of the brothers were waiting at Three Taverns, a rest stop about 36 miles [58 km] outside the city. How did Paul react? Luke reports: “Upon catching sight of them, Paul thanked God and took courage.” (Acts 28:15) Just imagine—the mere sight of those brothers who had exerted themselves to travel all that way was a source of strength and comfort to Paul! And whom did Paul thank for this helpful support? He thanked the one responsible, Jehovah God.
22. What is our yeartext for 2005, and what will be considered in the next article?
22 Clearly, the inspired record of God’s dealings speaks for itself. He is a Helper without equal. Appropriately, Jehovah’s Witnesses will have as their yeartext for 2005 the words of Psalm 121:2: “My help is from Jehovah.” But how does Jehovah help us today? This will be considered in the next article.
The Roman poet Horace (65—8 B.C.E.), who made the same journey, commented on the discomforts of this stretch of the trip. Horace described the Marketplace of Appius as “crammed with boatmen and stingy tavern-keepers.” He complained about the “cursed gnats and frogs” and the “villainous” water.
Do You Recall?
In what ways did Jehovah provide help—
• by means of the angels?
• through his holy spirit?
• with his inspired Word?
• through fellow believers?
[Blurb on page 15]
The yeartext for 2005 will be: “My help is from Jehovah.”—Psalm 121:2.
[Picture on page 16]
Paul thanked God for the help he received from the brothers in Rome