“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?”
Hebrews 13:6 (NIV)
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It seems programmed into little children that they want to be “Mommy’s helper” or “Daddy’s helper”. God has hard-wired children to learn by doing. From before they can talk, all children try to grab the spoon from our hand in order to feed themselves. Our work as parents is to make ourselves unnecessary in the lives of our offspring. That sounds rather hard but if we do a good enough job of training our children we will no longer be needed, but still wanted.
However, we cannot adequately train up our family so that when they become adults they will be adequate for all that life can serve up. Possibly our adult child may lose their child, or their spouse to death. Or else their child may be severely disabled and need 24/7 care from the medical profession. There is no way to adequately prepare a young parent for these alternatives.
All adults will occasionally be lost and afraid in tragic situations. They will cry out against the darkness and even wonder if God exists after all. How could such horrors happen to someone who was serving God to the best of their abilities they ask? Where was God when I needed Him they say?
The people who first received our verse for today were among the most persecuted of Christians in history. Some of them seemed to have fallen off the precipice of despair in their suffering. All seemed hopeless to them as they sought to endure such persecution.
The writer reminds them of a great verse in the Hebrew hymn book called the Psalms. What it says there is,
“The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?”
Psalm 118:6 (NIV).
The flashlight of God’s work is brought to bear on the situation to give light to those in the darkness of suffering.
In the Old Testament there are many names for God. Many of them were given to God after some difficult experience His people had endured. For example when Abraham was called on by God to offer up Isaac and Isaac’s life was spared at the last moment, Abraham called God, ”Jehovah Jireh”. This name means “the Lord will provide” or “the Lord sees”. The basic idea is that God saw ahead the need for a lamb of sacrifice and provided one for them to use on the mountain where they had come.
Later on in the New Testament we learn that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. In other words Abraham and Isaac portrayed the one true sacrifice that would deal with sin forever for God’s people.
Another name for God is “Jehovah Shalom” or “the Lord is Peace”. In the Old Testament book of Judges in chapter 6, verse 24 we read of a man who made a sacrifice to God and called the place, “the Lord is peace”. Sacrifice to God means peace between Him and sinners. Those who trust in the sacrifice Jesus made for sin shall certainly have peace with God.
In Ephesians 2:14 we read that Jesus is our peace with God. What Jesus did in this world gained peace with God for all who confess their sins and believe in Jesus. Before we come to Jesus to gain forgiveness the Bible teaches that we are rebels and at war with God. What we desperately need is to have peace with God. The only place to find peace with God is at the empty tomb and through believing in the resurrected One who offered His life on behalf of helpless sinners like you and me.
In Proverbs 18:10 we read,
“The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
the righteous run to it and are safe.”
Have you come to understand why God was called by so many powerful and expressive names? Have you sought comfort and strength from God’s many names? If you see God as He is through studying His names, you will never fear what people can do to you.
Seek safety in the names of God today and you will be blessed and able to ignore the threats of the world. The world in which we live can never take the Lord away from you. You will never lose your eternal blessings.