Power to Help

Sistine Chapel Creation

Deuteronomy 33:26 “There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, who rides on the heavens to help you and on the clouds in his majesty.”

Our God is no pipsqueak. Moses pictures him riding on the heavens. He is not a creature of this world, a product of the earth, like the gods of Greek and Roman mythology. He stands far above it all. Think of how small you look from an airplane, from the moon, from the distant stars. By contrast God stands far above all these things, looking down on them from the outside, big enough to straddle this universe that seems so vast to you and me.

He is so big and so powerful that some people go looking for smaller gods to follow. A feature from a magazine for recovering addicts in a 12-step program included descriptions that some people gave of their “Higher Power.” For one person it was the group of fellow addicts. For another it was whatever good he found in each day. For still another it was her sense of unity with the universe. For one it was even her dog. But will fellow friends, good feelings, or canines really be enough for all the help we need?

We are not above turning to lesser gods, either. How often don’t we think our problems could be solved if only we had more money? How often don’t we think that we could win our struggles if only we had more control, and then we go about scheming up ways to take control for ourselves? In effect, we are looking to ourselves as god. I make a mighty tiny little god for myself. The problem is not only that I fail to inspire any courage for the struggles and battles I face. I’m not able to be much real help, and then I have separated myself from the God who is.

Real help is part of what is so unique about the power of our God. He “rides on the heavens to help you.” All God’s power and size would just be scary if we were not convinced he loves us and wants to help us. But we know that this God does love us because of the help he has given us in the past. He has helped us with our sins by sending his Son to take them away from us at the cross. He has helped us with death by making Jesus’ death our own, and his resurrection the promise we will rise, too. He has helped us out of hell by making heaven a free gift of his grace. He has helped us out of our unbelief by revealing his love and sending us his Holy Spirit to give us faith.

Do you notice that in each case, God’s “help” is not just a little assistance, a little nudge to get us going again? He takes the whole project over and gets it done for us. He comes to us and says, “Let me do that for you.”

Despite all his power and majesty, that is just the kind of God he is. Most religions think that God is mainly interested in what we can do for him. Sometimes even Christians begin to think that way. But that is not where God puts the emphasis. There is no one else like him, because he rides on the heavens to help you, not just with salvation, but with every other struggle life will bring. His unique power gives us courage for all the fights we face.

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