“Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help and rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many and in horsemen because they are very strong, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel or consult the LORD!” (Isaiah 31:1, English Standard Version)
I’m a collector. I collect names and have an extensive contact list in my phone. These are not just any names; these are individuals or businesses in various trades and professions I can call when I need help. I’m your person to ask if you need a plumber, a painter, or a roofer. I know people who can repair a furnace, fix a car, trim a tree, and unstop a sewer line. (My list still lacks an electrician and a general handyman.) Most of these people were recommended by various friends, but they proved reliable when I used them. They made my good list. I have a few names that comprise a “never use again” list.
Where do you go when you need help? Ask a friend? Check a business’s ratings online? Or just blindly call someone—anyone—when an emergency arises? When you need help and need it quickly, you want someone dependable and who won’t take advantage of the situation by overcharging. Otherwise, your problems multiply.
While I may know the right repairman to call for a home repair, I sometimes forget my greatest source of help with life’s other problems. I go from plan A to plan B and start thinking of plan C when suddenly I think, Why didn’t I ask God to help me with this? Instead of making God plan A, He became my fallback plan. If all else fails . . . well, I can always ask God. Maybe He can help me out of this situation.
In ancient times, and still today, it wasn’t unusual for countries to align themselves in times of trouble. Joining forces to push back an enemy seems logical. But sometimes those alliances created more issues than the original conflict. Israel fell into such faulty thinking again and again. Isaiah 31 addresses the issue of Israel putting their trust in man’s help instead of God’s. Verse 3 warns:
“The Egyptians are man, and not God, and their horses are flesh, and not spirit. When the LORD stretches out his hand, the helper will stumble, and he who is helped will fall, and they will all perish together” (ESV).
Flesh or Spirit?
If we place more value on the help of man rather than the help of God, we set ourselves up for failure. We are relying on flesh, not spirit.
A friend is currently going through a very difficult and challenging situation. Many times, she does not know the right steps to take or how the need will be met. But she has chosen God as her source of help. Just this morning, part of her text message to me read, “God said He would help me. He is the God of the impossible.” She is placing her trust in the right place by leaning on God.
Today, if you are struggling with an impossible situation, take a few moments to meditate and pray through Psalm 121. Let the words speak peace to your heart as you discover once again that our greatest help comes from God.
“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth” (verses 1-2).