God helps those who help themselves.
True or False?
Is God moved by need? No.
If God were moved by need every need would be met.
Does the Bible say, “God helps those who help themselves?”
The answer: No. God helps those who help themselves:
- Is the most quoted scripture verse, which is not in the Bible.
- 82% of people believe it is in scripture.
- 25% of people believe it was one of the Ten Commandments.
- 50% of people believe it is a central theme in scripture.
- A half-truth in correlation to the Bible.
“God helps those who help themselves” traces to 604 BC by Greek Storyteller, Aesop.
The quote resurfaced through Benjamin Franklin in 1757.
God won’t do what you can do
There are times we can help ourselves. Why should God do for us what we can do for ourselves?
Other times, we are unable to help ourselves, and God prompts others to help us.
God not only helps those who help themselves, but He helps those who help others.
“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:44–45, NKJV)
The scripture is clear. God provides, blesses, and helps everyone.
The scripture is also clear about who God helps.
God helps those who obey Him
Joshua walked around the city of Jericho for seven straight days. God’s promise bordered on insanity. No one ever witnessed walls falling straight down to the ground. It resembled a modern-day demolition.
The story is ridiculous and miraculous.
“Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out, and no one came in. Then the Lord said to Joshua, ‘See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men.
Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the entire army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.’” (Joshua 6:1–6, NKJV)
Did this happen? Yes. Two of our points are validated: God helps the obedient and those who believe. This instruction from God was over the top. But God honors faith and obedience.
God helps those who use their faith
“What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
But someone will say, ‘You have faith, and I have works.’ Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.’’ (James 2:14–18, NKJV).
The Word commands us to meet the needs of the needy. The church has been notorious for only praying and sending people away in hunger or need.
God is a giver. His Word commands us to meet the needs of others. People with a need of food or clothes are looking for both prayer and help.
We can do better.
One of our struggles is why God doesn’t meet every need.
Need does not motivate God
There are needs everywhere. Faith moves God. God helps those who use their faith in His name. Men such as Abraham. Abraham believed in God and His power.
God helped Abraham because of his belief and not because he had a need.
“Therefore, it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.” (Romans 4:16, (NKJV).
Abraham’s need was great
Abraham wanted a child. Abraham desired to be a father and raise his children. He did not complain to God about his situation. He called out to God to meet his need, and he believed that God could do it.
This was the key to Abraham’s breakthrough. God met Abraham at the tipping point of his faith and not at the point of his need.
God helps the just and the unjust. …” for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”(Matthew 5:45, NKJV)
God is just. Many believe God is unjust. Both the believer and the unbeliever share the same sunshine. We both share the beauty of a full moon.
The earth is the Lord’s; it is not our earth. We share the earth with God, and He shares His goodness with all.
God helps those who help others
“If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?” (James 2:15, NKJV).
We have learned to look away from those in need. The homeless tell us, “they feel invisible.” People look around them or through them. The interests of others ought to be an interest of ours.
“Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4, NKJV).
It is easy to see the meaning of “The Lord helps those who help themselves” is taught in the Bible. We see it throughout the scripture.
We can also conclude that when we help God, we help ourselves.
So, the next time you hear someone say, “God helps those who help themselves,” remind them the Bible also says, “God helps those who help others.”
Thanks for reading. Please leave a comment. I would love to hear from you.
This post was first posted at medium.com