Exclusive Studies by Paul Davidson
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Early one morning while meditating on the thought of God’s help, the words of Paul before King Agrippa came to my mind. Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day. Acts 26:22
I could not help but think back on how much help he had received from God unto that present moment. God helped him escape from Damascus in a basket over the city wall. He was saved from death when he returned to Jerusalem. On his missionary journeys he was run out of Antioch of Pisidia, Iconium, and at Lystra stoned and left for dead. When he crossed the Aegean Sea to Macedonia he was beaten and imprisoned at Philippi, run out of Thessalonica, Berea, mobbed at Corinth, and later at Ephesus. This, plus the long list of his sufferings recorded in 2 Corinthians 11, “prisons oft, stripes above measure, three times beaten with rods, three times shipwrecked, in perils of robbers, perils in the city, in the wilderness, in the sea…” There was only one reason he could have continued through all that suffering. It was because of God’s help.
I thought about my life. I have had a lot of help from God to continue to this day. I am 76. At the age 39 I suffered a near nervous breakdown. For two years I never worked. Often I wondered if I would be able to raise my family of three children. I have carried the scars of that nervous disorder for years. Each of our children has had very difficult problems.
There was no possible way with my limited physical strength I could have helped raise my children, face the heavy demands of missionary work or pastoring or years of teaching at Trinity Bible College until I was 70, without having received a lot of help from God. Even to this day I need His help. But I can say with Paul, “Having therefore obtained help of God I continue unto this day.”
If you have a Bible concordance look up the words help, helped, helper, and you will find God’s Word has a lot to say on the subject, especially in the Psalms. One thing I noticed in the Psalms of David was how often he cried to God for help (12:1), “Help, Lord; for the godly man ceaseth;” (22:11) “Be not far from me; for trouble is near; and there is none to help;” (59:4) “Awake to help me;” (60:11) “Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man;” (109:26) “Help me, O Lord my God.”
At times his prayer became desperate ( 22:19), “O my strength, haste thee to help me;” (70:1) “Make haste to help me, O Lord.” Hurry up, God, I need help!
You ask, “Why was he always calling on God to help?” For many long years he lived his life as a fugitive fleeing from his father-in-law, Saul, who sought to kill him. Many of his Psalms were written in this difficult time. And there was one lesson he learned in that trying hour: God was his only source of help. (Psalm 60:11), “Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man.” In 146:3 he gives some advice, “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, on whom there is no help.”
When David wrote Psalm 109 he wanted to leave his testimony. (v.22) “I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me;” (v.23) “I am hone like the shadow when it declineth;” (v.23) “I became also a reproach unto them: when they looked upon me they shaked their heads.” Now his prayer (v.26 & 27), “Help me, O Lord my God; O save me according to thy mercy; That they may know that this is thy hand that thou, Lord, hast done it.” He was anxious for God to get all the glory.
No man could have accomplished what he did without God’s help. As a young man he had killed a bear and lion with only his bare hands. He defeated the giant Goliath with only a sling shot! He survived the years as a fugitive when pursued by Saul’s army, the treachery of Absalom when he stole the kingdom from his father; and at the end he stood _ by God’s help _ as Israel’s greatest king, one of the great names of all history.
And David loved to testify of God’s help: (Psalm 27:9) “Thou hast been my help;” (40:17) “Thou hast been my deliverer;” (46:1) “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble”– that “present” means tried, proven! You can count on it: (94:17) “Unless the lord had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence;” (v.18) “When I said, my foot slippeth; thy mercy, O Lord, held me up.”
How different the life of Uzziah: (II Chrn. 26:15,16) “He was marvelously helped, till he was strong. But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction.” Or like Hezekiah: (32:25) “Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up.” The Psalms are hymns of thanksgiving for God’s help, as he cries in 116:12, “What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits?”
I have often pondered the life of two men that history sets side by side. Both were kings of Israel, Saul the father-in-law, David the son-in-law. One wasted the strength of Israel’s armed forces pursuing David. He destroyed his family and ended his life in suicide; one of the greatest recorded tragedies of all time. The other came from a humble beginning, rose through all life’s difficulties, and ended his life one of the greatest success stories of all time!
What was the cause of Saul’s failure? What was the secret of David’s success? David was always calling on God for help. David’s first official act as king was to bring the ark back to Jerusalem. (1 Chronicles13:3) “Let us bring again the ark of our God to us: for we enquired not at it in the days of Saul.” You say, unthinkable! But let me quote again from Scripture, (1 Chronicles10:13,14), “So Saul died for his transgression . . . and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it; And enquired not of the Lord: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse.”
When Paul wrote Romans 5:6, “When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly,” he did not say, “when we were weak,” but “without strength”- helpless. We live in an evil world, are born with a sinful nature. John wrote (Revelation 12:12), “Woe to the inhibitors of the earth . . . for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” And Paul wrote (Eph.6:12) “We wrestle . . . against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” We face combined forces of evil.
God knew how desperately man needed His help. So in prophecy concerning His Son the Messiah, it was written (Psa.89:19), “I have laid help upon one that is mighty.” I’m sending help in the person of my Son.
Yet when He came He was born as a helpless babe, nurtured on His mother’s breast. The whole of His life He was as dependent on the Father’s help as we are. What is strange is to hear His cry for help to His Father. Psalm 22 is the Psalm of the Cross. (v.1) “My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me?” (v.14) “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint;” (v.16) “They pierced my hands and my feet;” (v.19) “O Lord . . . my strength, hasten thee to help me.” Gods’s son crying for help? Yes. Why? In order to redeem us He had to become one with us. In order to be out High Priest He must understand our needs. (Hebrews 5:2) “He himself also is compassed with infirmity;” (Hebrews 4:15) “In all points tempted like as we are;” (Hebrews 5:7) “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears.” His humanity was real. He understands when I cry to Him for help.
There is something about the cry for help that immediately gets one’s attention. It was a late Spring night. The weather had been warmer than usual, but Lake Placid’s water was still cold. I had retired for the evening, and evidently had fallen asleep when I thought I heard a cry for help. Ava, who was awake, said, “Did you hear it?” About that time the phone rang and Jim Rose, my neighbor, said, “There is someone down in the water at the bridge.” I grabbed my trousers, the adrenalin running in my veins, and raced to the bridge. A couple of lads pointed and said, “He is down there.”
It was on the third dive I brought him up; a boy about ten years old. I was afraid I was too late as I watched the paramedics work on his lifeless body. The call for help reaches to the depth of any decent person.
We were missionaries to China, located in Mukden, Manchuria. When the Communist armies began to encircle the city we felt it necessary to leave. We took our oldest son, very sick, from his bed along with his little brother. We boarded a freight train, riding in a boxcar a couple of hundred miles, to the little port city of Yinkou. When we arrived, the only shelter we could find was a house partly destroyed by shells. We made him a bed in one corner, put sheets around to keep out the cold as best we could. He had double pneumonia. His fever was raging. I never will forget the words he spoke to me through bleeding lips, “Daddy, can’t you help me?” Oh, the anguish of that hour. He was my very life. I would have died for him.
David recognized this truth when he wrote in Psalms 103:13,14, “Like as a father pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” My cry for help reaches God’s heart as my son’s cry for help reached mine.
In Hebrews 4:16 we are invited to “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
But someone might say, “You don’t know how great my sin is. God will not hear my cry.” Others may discourage you as well by saying, “There is no help for you in God.” That is what they said to David when he fled from Absalom. (Psalm 2:1,2) “Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! Many are they that rise up against me. Many there be which say of my soul, there is no help for him in God.”
Psalm 3 is entitled, “A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.” The situation was dark, desperate, hopeless. Absalom had betrayed his father and seized the throne of Israel. David was fleeing for his life.
When Absalom asked Ahithophel for counsel, Ahithophel said unto Absalom (2 Samuel 16:21, 22) “Go in unto thy father’s concubines, which he hath left to keep the house; and all Israel shall hear that thou art abhorred of thy father: then shall the hands of all that are with thee be strong . . . and Absalom went in unto his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.” You could hear the crowd laughing, mocking, cheering as they watched his sex orgy with David’s ten concubines. And among the crowd you could hear them say, “David is finished as king. He will never rise again. Look at what his son is doing to his wives. There is no help for him in God. He is only getting what he deserves for his sin of adultery with Bath-sheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite. He even had the brass to have Uriah killed to cover his sin of getting her pregnant.”
You know those who were saying of David, “there is no help for him in God,” (humanly speaking) were right. He was only getting what he deserved. But one thing they forgot. God’s mercy!
David, when faced with the horrible sin of adultery and murder, with a broken and contrite heart sought for God’s mercy. You have his prayer in Psalm 51. And his testimony in Psalm 32:1,2, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.” David knew that when God forgave him, the record of his sin was removed from God’s account, as well as from his conscience. Notice what he says in Psalm 3:3, “Thou, O Lord, are a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.” And out of that moment of deepest shame David rose to the highest greatness; he ended his life surrounded by his people, the greatest of their kings.
Don’t let your past keep you from coming to God for help. At His Throne of Grace you can obtain mercy. Because Jesus was given for your sins you can be forgiven of your sins. “He made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
There is an old hymn we used to sing. I think it goes like this: “Come ye sinners, lost and hopeless, Jesus’ blood can make you free; for He saved the worst among you when He saved a wretch like me. And I know, yes I know Jesus’ blood can make the vilest sinner clean. And I know, yes I know Jesus’ blood can make the vilest sinner clean.”
I remember one Sunday evening preaching in the La Grange church, in a suburb of Chicago, on the subject of God’s help. I felt God’s presence. At the close of the service an elderly man dressed in bib overalls asked if he could say something. Brother Green encouraged him to come to the microphone. He had difficulty getting started, he was so shy and nervous. I’m sure it was his first time to speak before a group.
He shared he had been driving on one of Chicago’s busiest expressways when the engine of the car quit. Not able to restart it he raised the hood hoping someone would help. No one stopped. He said he was not well and needed to get home. Finally in desperation he lifted his voice and said, “God, help me!” he turned the key and the car started.
He was excited as he continued. “I live alone. Of late I have had a problem with circulation in one of my legs. I was admitted to the VA hospital, where after a thorough examination by a number of doctors the decision was to have it amputated the following morning.
I couldn’t sleep that night. How could I get along with one leg? Then I remembered how God helped me start the car. So I cried to the Lord to help me. When they wheeled me into the operating room and unrolled the bandages they were astounded at the change, and said, ‘There is no need for an amputation.’” Smiling, he shook his leg and said, “See, I have both legs. God has helped me.”
After the service I spoke to the pastor “Who is he?” He shared that the man had been an alcoholic and had only recently been coming to church. I could not help but realize that when any man reaches up for help God reaches down to help. Noah in the desperate hour he lived reached up and found grace to walk with God.
What are the lessons? We need to acknowledge our need for help as David when he said, “I am poor and needy.” Christ knows the awesome power arranged against us to keep us from being the person He created us to be. Jesus understands my need. His humanity was real. While here on earth He said (John 5:30), “I can of mine own self do nothing. And reminds each of us (15:5), “without me ye can do nothing.”
I need to recognize God alone is able to meet my need as David cried (Psalm 15:5), “Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man.” I need to come boldly, that is with confidence that whatever my sinful past, I can “obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
And finally, when I receive help from God, to have the decency to thank Him for the help and testify of it to others as David in Psalm 102:2,3: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases.”
The Gadarene demoniac, when delivered, wanted to follow Jesus wherever He went. Jesus told him (Mark 5:19) “Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.” I’m going to visit your area. Others have needs as great as yours. Tell them I can meet their needs. (v.20) “And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis (10 cities) how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.” His testimony opened that area for Jesus’ ministry when at later times He visited them. That’s the power of a testimony of God’s help to open men’s hearts to God.
The Psalmist cried (Psalm 20:2) “Send thee help form the sanctuary.” Jeremiah described that sanctuary in 17:12, “A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary.” It is glorious because it is a throne of grace. It is the High Throne. There is none higher. The One who sits on that throne has all power in heaven and earth. From the beginning–it is the Eternal Throne. And it is the place of our sanctuary where we can go to obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need!
It was not easy for my Mom, with no formal education, to raise seven children. Often she would disappear to her bedroom, sometimes for hours. She had gone for help to God’s sanctuary.
Sister Kluck, our cook at Trinity Bible College, was widowed when her fourth child, Doug, was very small. She has raised four beautiful children, all saved and all earnestly serving the Lord. I asked her one day, “How did you do it?” She answered, “When Albert, my husband, died I was left with the children, and a farm not paid for. Time and again I did not know what to do. I’d go down to the barn and gave a good cry. I’d tell the Lord I needed help. Wipe my tears and go back to work.” Her sanctuary was the barn.
God invites us to come boldly with confidence to the Throne of His grace and find grace to help. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Romans 5:12, “If by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.” Grace makes the difference, whether we end life a victim or a victor.
But here is the “whether” tragedy. So many never reach up for help. You smile when your little one is learning to dress himself and say, “Me do it, Daddy.” We seem to be born with a fierce sense of independence. But it is not a smiling matter when that child is grown and says, “Dad, I don’t need your help.”
Or is it due to the false sense of security we face in our materialistic world like that of the Laodicean church? (Revelation 3:17) “Thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” It turned God off. Why they were lying through their teeth. Their real condition was, “thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” How different David’s attitude, (Psalm 40:17) “I am poor and needy;” (Psalm 70:5) “I am poor and needy;” (86:1) “I am poor and needy.” So often in his Psalms he spoke of his being poor. One might think he was putting on what I call the poor mouth. But it never turned God off. Why? He was telling the truth.
Sharing Christ with a nurse in the hospital I saw tears begin to fall from her eyes. She said, “God must have sent you to me today.” She shared that her beautiful marriage with the man she dearly loved was over. “We had eighteen wonderful years together. A beautiful home, family and all the money we could want.” And sadly she said, “We felt we had no need of God.” Now in desperation she was reaching up for help. She has come back to the Lord.
We need help to keep our homes together. Over 50% of all marriages end in divorce.
Many of us have faced injustice, ill treatment. A minister friend shared the story of his father. He was once a successful preacher who felt the church he served treated him unjustly, and he had become bitter. For many years he never darkened the church doors. One day his son said to him, “Dad, if you would die where would you go?” His answer, “To hell, son.” Five days later, in a massive heart attack he was gone. It didn’t have to happen that way.
Our Lord faced injustice. How did He keep from being bitter? Listen to His words, (Isaiah 50:5) “The Lord God hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious neither turned away back. I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.” How could He do it? Note v.7, “For the Lord God will help me;” (v.9) “Behold, the Lord God will help me.” And then this wonderful promise (v.10) “Who is among you that feareth the Lord . . . that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord.” Help will come! But there is one more truth I would like to share before closing. Just as we need God’s help, so we need each other’s help! We were never meant to stand alone to face life’s trials by ourselves. God knew this. (Genesis 2:18) “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” This was God’s plan for the institution of the family. (Psalm 68:5,6) “A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows … God setteth the solitary in families.” It was the plight of the widow of Nain that touched the heart of our Master. (Luke 7:12) “Behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.” When the Lord saw her He had compassion on her!
If you have family, share with those who have none. (James 1:27) “Pure religion and undefiled . . . is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction.” Reach out to the child of a broken home, be a big brother, a big sister. Help is so desperately needed, so easily given. All it costs is a little time, a little effort.
This is the reason for the church. God’s family. That each of His children might have help. (Romans 15:1) “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak.” (Galatians .6:2) “Bear ye one another’s burdens.” When Paul spoke of the church as the body: (1Corinthians.12:25) “the members should have the some care one for another.”
God knows we need each other’s help to stand in the face of Satan’s cruel attacks. Satan knows this as well, and his goal is to break up the family, destroy the unity of the church so that he can easily pick us off one by one.
In this day when there seems to be so much coldness toward God and toward His church, we need the exhortation (Hebrews 10:25) “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is.” And to remember that the banana that strays from the bunch gets peeled. You need the church! The church needs you!
There is an old hymn we used to sing–“Help somebody today, somebody along life’s way, Till sorrows are ended and friendless befriended, Oh help somebody today.”
In closing, let me quote from a Jewish translation of Genesis 4:5-7; “Cain was much distressed and his face fell, And the Lord said to Cain, Why are you distressed and why is your face fallen? Surely if you do right there is uplift. But if you do not right, sin is the demon at the door whose urge is toward you. Yet you can be his master.” It is a touching scene. God comes to earth’s firstborn in a crisis hour and offers him help. “There is uplift. I will help you.” Tragically, he refused God’s help; the demon sin at the door entered and Cain became as John wrote (1 John.3:12), “who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother.” His refusal of God’s help damned his own soul and that of succeeding generations.
Reach up for His help. He will reach down to help you right now!