Thursday, June 3, 2010


When believers are in need of help, I recommend the Book of Psalms. "Help" appears about fifty times in the King James Version of the Old Testament. It appears twenty-seven times in Psalms. The Old Testament has four words which the KJV translates as "help": yeshuah and teshuah which speak of one's safety; and ezer and eziah which actually mean help. It is interesting, to say the least, that jeshuah is the Hebrew for Jesus; it is translated Joshua in the Old Testament and Jesus in the New. Of course, we understand our safety is assured in our Savior, Jesus Christ.

When one speaks of helping someone, it means to meet their need. Persons under attack need defending; persons who are hungry need food; etc. Jesus will one day judge the nations on how they met the needs of His brethren, Israel (Matt. 25:31-46). It is important to note that specific needs require specific solutions. Giving food to someone being attacked by a robber would be ridiculous. Building a fortress for nomads looking for water...well you get the picture. What about missionaries who go to share the Gospel with people who have no food or water? I have heard of missionaries raising thousands of dollars to build schools and churches, when the people have no well or no source of food. I have seen pictures of tribal men wearing white shirts, ties, and sport coats, while being told to donate because their families have no blankets. It is true that Jesus told His disciples to go evangelize, baptize, and teach the lost, but He set the example by healing and feeding His audiences.

This kind of reminds me of the story about the enthusiastic Boy Scout who insisted on helping a senior citizen across the street. It was a nice gesture, but she did not want to cross the street. Suppose you went to the doctor with a broken hand, and he performed open-heart surgery. Or suppose you took your car to have an oil change, and he decided to paint it a different color. It would be like consulting a dictionary to solve a math problem. The solution to the problem must fit the problem itself. Enthusiasm and sacrifice cease to have meaning if one's efforts are misdirected. If you want to help someone, ask them what it is that they need. I understand that they may not realize that they need the Savior, but what better way to get them to listen than to show a genuine concern for their well-being? To the starving, the Gospel sounds like "blah, blah, blah." Don't you think it is ludicrous that a person could die due to hunger, thirst, nakedness, and disease while learning Old Testament Bible stories? The Matthew passage says absolutely nothing about a failure to share the Gospel with the lost children of Israel, but it says volumes about failing to meet their human needs.

The bottom line is this: If you sincerely want to obey God and help the lost souls of the world, meet their basic needs and gain a grateful audience. Remember, when you help one of His brethren, you help Him.

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