Is God Always Moved by Need?

by | May 29, 2020 | Purpose & Identity

God helps those who help themselves. True or false?

Maybe both?

Is God moved by need? No.

If God were moved by need, then 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 verses that 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.

—Is a half-truth in correlation to the Bible.

“God helps those who help themselves” traces to 604 B.C. and 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 who is 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” (Matt. 5:44–45).

The Scripture is clear. God provides, blesses and helps everyone.

The Scripture is also clear about whom 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 Jericho was tightly secured before the children of Israel. There was no one leaving or entering.

The Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho, its king, and mighty men of valor into your hand. All the men of fighting age shall march around the city. Circle the city once. Do this for six days. Seven priests shall carry seven ram’s horn trumpets before the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When they blow a long blast on the ram’s horn and when you hear the trumpet sound, all the people shall shout a loud battle cry. The walls of the city will fall down, and the people will go up, every man straight ahead.”

So Joshua son of Nun summoned the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant. Seven priests bearing seven ram’s horn trumpets shall be in front of the ark of the Lord.”

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 brothers, if a man says he has faith but has no works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and lacking daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” and yet you give them nothing that the body needs, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

But a man may 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).

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 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 is need 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 the promise comes through faith, so that it might be by grace, that the promise would be certain to all the descendants, 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” (Rom. 4:16).

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 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

“that you may be sons of your Father who is 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” (Matt. 5:45).

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 lacking daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” and yet you give them nothing that the body needs, what does it profit?” (James 2:15).

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 your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil. 2:4).

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 Scriptures.

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.” {eoa}

Thomas McDaniels is a pastor/writer and the guy behind thomasmcdaniels.com. He has written for ChurchLeaders.com and currently is a contributing writer for Fox News. He is also the founder of LifeBridge.tv and the Longview Dream Center in Longview, Texas. Thomas can be found on social media, Instagram and Twitter.

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