So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do to me.
So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my Helper, etc. The writer in our text adopts the language of Psalm 118:6. Three distinct, yet closely related topics for meditation are suggested.
I. MAN'S NEED OF HELP. What a dependent creature is man! Mark this in the different stages of his life.
1. How utterly helpless in infancy!
2. How needy in youth! Instruction, direction, counsel, support, are indispensable to youthful life, if it is to grow into usefulness unto men and acceptability unto God.
3. How dependent in manhood! No one is independent. Even the wealthiest, the wisest, the mightiest, cannot stand alone. We need help
(1) from each other. "We are members one of another." "The members should have the same care one for another" (cf. 1 Corinthians 13.) We need help
(2) from God. "He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things... for in him we live, and move, and have our being." It was truly said by Fenelon, "God has but to withdraw his hand which bears us, to plunge us back into the abyss of our nothingness, as a stone suspended in the air fails by its own weight the moment it ceases to be held."
4. How imbecile in old age! This is often a "second childhood," a season of almost complete dependence upon others both physically and mentally.
5. There are times, when man specially feels his need of help. In affliction we feel our need of patience; in sorrow, of consolation; in perplexity, of guidance, etc.
II. GOD'S PROVISION OF HELP. God has put it into our hearts to help each other. Many are the ways in which this is done; e.g. by sympathy, by counsel, by gifts, etc. But God himself is the great Helper. A helper does not do everything for us. He supplements our weakness with his strength; our ignorance and inexperience with his wisdom. We must do our part, and he will not fail in his. Consider what a glorious Helper God is.
1. He is all-sufficient. His wisdom is infinite. The treasures of his grace are inexhaustible. It is conceivable that the sun, after the lapse of many and vast ages, may become dark and cold, or that the waters of old ocean may be drank up; but it is impossible and inconceivable that the infinite resources of our Divine Helper should ever fail.
2. He is ever-available. We cannot seek him and discover that he is inaccessible to us. We cannot approach him inopportunely. He is "a very present Help in trouble." "Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me."
3. He is ever-gracious. His willingness to help is as great and as constant as his ability. Man varies in his moods: today he is genial and kind, to-morrow he is cold and harsh. But God is ever merciful, ever disposed to help and bless his creatures.
III. THE BELIEVER'S ASSURANCE OF THE HELP OF GOD. "So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not fear: what shall man do unto me?"
1. This confidence rests upon the promise of God. "He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (ver. 5). His promises are perfectly reliable. "God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man," etc. (Numbers 23:19). "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away" "The Scripture cannot be broken." "He abideth faithful; for he cannot deny himself." His promise, then, is an immovable basis for our confidence.
2. This confidence inspires the courage of the believer. "The Lord is my Helper; I will not fear: what shall man do unto me?" The man over whom God casts his shield is invulnerable. "If God be for us, who can be against us?" "Who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?" No crafty foe can elude the vigilance of his eye; no subtle scheme can surprise his infinite mind; no strong antagonist can cope with his almighty arm. If he is our Helper, man cannot injure us. If he is our Helper, our resources cannot fail. If he is our Helper, we may pursue our life-path chanting cheerfully, "God is our Refuge and Strength, a very present Help in trouble," etc. (Psalm 46.). - W.J.
Parallel VersesKJV: So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.