God is Our Help

“Behold, God is my helper; The Lord is the sustainer of my soul.” (Psalm 54:4)

From the time that we arrived here in this world we have been taught to be self-reliant. We have learned from the many disappointments in our life that our greatest sufficiency in this world is the responsibility of our own selves. Those that we have known in the past, those that we know now, and those that we shall meet along our way will fail us at some time and leave us lacking in need. And while being left shortened must remain rightfully just and become forgiving towards them, as we too have failed to meet the measure of perfection and are just as flawed as all others. We also have left many along the journey in want, as many have left us. So we must on the record be forgiving and lift those who have fallen and climb towards those who have risen. This is the path and measure that assures that all will reach the destination together.

Along the way we have at times mustered great strength and have become models that others have clung to and depended upon, as they have been inspired to carry on towards the goal. Along the way we have fallen and searched for a hand to lift us back up and carry us for a spell along the path until we have found our bearing and see the way forward. It is a balance between strength and weakness, tossing and turning, rising and falling, knowing and questioning, and the mask that we have warn often leaves us little peace within. There are those that have taught us along the way that doubt and weakness is a demonstration of a lack of faith. They have taught us the old hymn, “My hope is built on nothing less, than my own ability to overcome anything.”

Confidence is a good commodity to have in our life, tremendous creativity springs forth from it. Our very uniqueness in creation comes from our creativity. Nations are built upon the creativity of its people. Strong societies are built upon self-reliant creative people. As long as nations have the freedom to walk along the farthest borders of their horizons their growth is unlimited.

We have as we study history seen many great nations rise to great levels and accomplish great things and strike the marvels of lessor peoples. We have also seen these nations stumble, fall, and vanish from existence. Where are the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, and where is the United States headed now today? In the book of Proverbs we read this truth from God’s Word, “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law.” (Proverbs 29:18) The vision of man reaches no further than the extent of his finite imagination.

I believe this from reading the first chapter of Genesis that the universe was created to support the earth, and the earth was created to support man, and man was created to glorify God. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (Genesis 1:1; Genesis 1:26)

God created man from the dust of the earth and breathed life into him, God breathed His Spirit into man and gave man the ability to live eternality. “Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7) The spirit of a man which lives in a flesh tent is destined for an eternal existence is not the short time man will be here in the world but the eternity he will face in the world to come, as man has eternity placed in his heart. “He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

The problem for man is that his perspective in locked into the world that he is presently in and not fixed upon the eternal world he is bound for. Man lives well for today, hopes only for a tomorrow that may never come and sees not the vast future that lays before him. “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” (James 4:13-15)

We are God’s creation and to God His creation will give an account for the things we have done. Every word and deed will be measured against His law at the appointed time. “But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the Day of Judgment.” (Matthew 12:36)

We are living in an evil and fallen world because for a time the god of this world is the adversary Satan himself, man’s accuser who seeks to rob God of His Crown of Creation, man. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” (John 10:10) We cannot see or know the evil forces that are arrayed against us or the magnitude of the spiritual war that is being fought about us but God can and we must be careful as we walk through this valley of the shadow of death. “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)

I don’t know and no man does when our time here shall come to an end. When the Lord shall appear in the sky and call His Church out of the fray that lies ahead for this world. But I do know this, we must be as the prudent 5 virgins and we must be ready, waling in the guidance of His Spirit that when He comes we will be ready. (Matthew 25:1-13) “The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:7-8)

I remember the old Simon and Garfunkel son of long ago and the closing lines, “And a rock feels no pain; And an island never cries.” We are afraid of being lost and lonely, yet, we pay no mind to the spiritual death that is but a twinkling away. Many of us try to live life as self-reliant as we can. Going our own way and being our own person. But that is not the wise way to go. Many a one is lost to short sighted living. “There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.” (Proverbs 14:12) We need to have an eternal perspective, we need to be prepared for what lies ahead of us. We need to have an all knowing, all present, and almighty Father who loves us. We need God’s guidance in our life.

We all need God’s help. He is the God of our past, He was there and knows the ground we have covered. We can see what he has done. He is the God of our present and if we pause we can see what He is doing for us, we can know His presence if we just humble ourselves and ask Him to make Himself known to us. He is the God of the future and has prepared the way for us to go. God does not push us, He is always leading us on our way. “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

Life in this world is not easy, it will never be easy until we reach our home. We have a Lord that loves us, a Lord that will lift our burdens and carry us when we falter, and a Lord that will lead us all the way. “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7)

It is a path that He has prepared and we can have full confidence in. Such as it was for Ira D. Sankey. One Christmas Eve while traveling up the Delaware River on a steamboat in the year 1866 he was asked to sing. Mr. Sankey sang the Shepherds Song titled “Savior, like a Shepherd Lead Us, written by Dorothy A. Thrupp in 1836. Mr. Sankey sang these wonderful words.

Savior, like a shepherd lead us, Much we need Thy tender care

In Thy pleasant pastures feed us, For our use Thy folds prepare:

Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus, Thou hast bought us, Thine we are.

 

We are Thine, who Thou befriend us, Be the guardian of our way;

Keep Thy flock from sin defend us, Seek us when we go astray;

Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus, Hear Thy children when we pray.

 

Early let us seek Thy favor, Early let us do Thy will;

Blessed Lord and only Savior, With Thy love our bosoms fill;

Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus, Thou hast loved us, love us still.

 

After Mr. Sankey had finished singing the song he was greeted by a weather-beaten Confederate Soldier who asked, “Did you ever serve in the Union Army?”

“Yes,” answered Mr. Sankey, in the spring of 1860.

“Can you remember if you were doing picket duty on a bright, moonlit night in 1862?”

“Yes,” answered Mr. Sankey, very much surprised.

“So did I” said the stranger, “but I was serving in the Confederate army. When I saw you standing at your post I said to myself: ‘That fellow will never get away from here alive.’ I raised my musket and took aim. I was standing in the shadow completely concealed, while the full light of the moon was falling upon you.”

“At that instant, you were singing that song just as you were ago moment ago. You raised your eyes to heaven and began to sing. Music, especially song, has always had a wonderful power over me, and I took my finger off the trigger. ‘Let him sing his song to the end, I said to myself. I can shoot him afterwards. He’s my victim at all events, and my bullet cannot miss him.”

The Confederate Soldier continued.  “But the song you sang then was the song you sang just now. I heard the words perfectly:”

 “We are Thine, do Thou befriend us, Be the guardian of our way.”

“Those words stirred up many memories in my heart. I began to think of my childhood and my God-fearing mother. She had many, many times sung that song to me. But she died all too soon, otherwise much in my life would no doubt have been different.”

“When you had finished your song it was impossible for me to take aim at you again. I thought: ‘The Lord who is able to save that man from certain death must surely be great and mighty’ and my arm of its own accord dropped limp at my side.”

The Lord God knows our every need even when we do not. Let us walk humbly in His providence every moment of our day in trust and faith that He is with us all the way.

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

Pleasant Manor, April 23, 2016

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