Thursday of 2 Lent

Our Help is in the Name of the Lord – Psalm 124

“Our help is in the Name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”

Psalm 124:8

Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matt. 28:18).  All power and authority belong to the Lord.  As we saw in the early verses of this Psalm, the Lord who made heaven and earth, and who has given all authority to His Son, Jesus, is fully capable of saving us and setting us at liberty from every evil.  But we get scared, and we get confused when things go awry.  Then we take up the mantle of authority and try to correct the matter in our own power.

Sadly, there are many who believe that what Benjamin Franklin wrote in his Poor Richard’s Almanac is scriptural:  “God helps those who help themselves.”  This was not a new or unique thought for Ben Franklin.  This expression of self-sufficiency and initiative has its origins in ancient Greek mythology where the phrase “the gods help those who help themselves” is found.  Indeed, versions of the expression appear in several ancient Greek tragedies, and is stated as the moral of Hercules and the Waggoner, in one of Aesop’s fables (english.stackexchange.com).  But what does the Scripture say?  In Philippians 2:12-13, St. Paul says, “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”  Yes, we are to “work out our own salvation”, however, we are incapable of doing that in our own power, and we have no authority to bring about the change necessary to secure that salvation.  “God is at work in us.”  It is His power and authority made manifest in His Son, working in us by the Person of the Holy Spirit, who secures that help which we so desperately need.  Paul goes on to say in the next chapter, “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him…” (Philippians 3:7-9).

“Our help is in the Name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”  The Psalmist knows that he must make the effort to move out of the troubling circumstances of his captivity.  He must take a step in faith toward God and the land to which God is calling him.  Then, his faith assures him that God will provide all of the necessary provision and protection he needs for the journey.  We listen to His call, we take the step to show our good faith, and God works out the rest, if we will remain in Him.

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