Does God Help Those Who Help Themselves?


Monday we mused on
Psalm 62:8
“Trust in Him
at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for
us.” NKJV
Here it is in the
trust God all the time. Tell him all your problems, because God is our
never mishandles our heart. People do, for sure. But never God. In the Bible,
you’ll find many verses about pouring out a drink offering, pouring out water
and then pouring out your heart.
In Acts
(and Joel) it talks about the Spirit being poured out.
Philippians, Paul refers to himself as a drink offering poured out, obviously
familiar with the concept.
Today, I
want to look at a tiny little snippet in the book of 1 Samuel. Chapter 7.  The ark had been captured by the Philistines.
Then it caused all sorts of trouble for them, this is where I smile and say
duh! So they sent it away and the men of Beth Shemesh took it but they looked
inside and they died. Hello, Holy God can’t be looked on and they knew it. So
they were afraid and they sent it to Kirjath Jearim.
people of Israel mourned (for like 20 years) and lamented and sought after God
so Samuel (who was judging Israel) came to them and here’s what he said:
helps those who help themselves.”
kidding. God didn’t say that.
In fact, that particular phrase makes me slightly nauseous. I suppose it depends on the context. Do you mean God partners with
us and we have a physical part we have to do? Yes, I might buy that phrase for a dollar. We do have an ACTIVE part to play. 
If we could actually help ourselves, why would we need God? I
think that is a confusing turn of phrase, especially to new believers who might think it means if they don’t act right and do things “perfect” God won’t intervene on their behalf. They might think it’s all about “works” in our own strength and ability. And me no likey. Not everyone is a “seasoned” Christian who can break that phrase down and pick it apart for what it is. Be careful what you post on facebook! (officially sort of done with my soapbox  exhorting mature Christians to be careful with young Christians or less mature ones.)
what God (through Samuel) actually said:
you are returning to the LORD with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the
foreign gods and Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the LORD and serve him
only and…” (1 Samuel 7:3)
So we
see that the people of God wanted God to help them, to provide for them but
they were still putting other things (other gods) first. In place of Him. Many
times, it’s a struggle to rid yourself of things you really love–love more
than God. But He gives us the strength to do it. Partnership.
He will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” (rest of that
So they
did. And they served God only.
assembled them at Mizpah, which means “watchtower.” It was 8 miles
north of Jerusalem. There Samuel interceded for them.
Mizpah, “they gathered together…drew water, and poured it out before the
LORD. And they fasted that day, and said there, ‘We have sinned against the
God doesn’t help those who help themselves. He helps those who
have a repentant heart. *in this context of being a believer, not the fingerprints of God as He has guided us unknowingly before salvation. God has always been working on our behalf whether we have known it or not.
out the water was symbol of repentance. It’s also a symbol of pouring out the
heart–giving it all to God. Surrendering. They also gave up food (fasting), as they’d
rather have God and His guidance than to fill their bellies.
At that
time the Philistines were on their way. The enemy was marching.
was in the middle of offering a burnt offering for the people, an atonement for
their sin.
what God did!
At that
moment, “the LORD thundered with a loud thunder upon the Philistines that
day, and so confused them that they were overcome before Israel.” 1 Samuel
When we pour it out, when we repent, God gives us the strength to knock down all things
that come before Him and it moves mountains of opposition. It confuses the
enemy and gives us the victory.
doesn’t need our help. He needs our repentant hearts. Thank God for the Holy Spirit that convicts and brings us to a place of repentance!
Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name
Ebenezer, saying ‘Thus far the LORD has helped us.'” 1 Samuel 7:12
means stone of help. I think it’s important for us to put up a reminder,
whether physical or symbolic, to remind us that God has helped us so far. And
He will continue to be our refuge.
The key
is to pour ourselves out like water. Daily repenting–not b/c as Christians
we’re supposed to, but because we are truly sorry and we truly mean to turn
away from our sins and those things that come before God in our lives.
year, I gave my husband a clay jar that had a 3-tiered fountain. A reminder
that he might be clay, but his life overflows into others. A reminder that God
has  helped him thus far.
What “stones” have you set up to remind  you that God has helped you so far? If you
haven’t, give it some thought. What might you use as a “stone”?