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THE HEBREW WORD GROUP ON "HELP"
THE GREEK WORD GROUP ON "HELP"
'Azar (5826) means to protect, aid, help, succor, support, give material or nonmaterial encouragement. Azar often refers to aid in the form of military assistance and in many instances refers to help from Jehovah as illustrated by the uses below.
Webster says to help means to aid, to assist, to succour (see below), to lend strength or means towards effecting a purpose. To relieve; to cure, or to mitigate pain or disease. To remedy; to change for the better.
The Septuagint translates 'azar most often with the word group that includes boáo, boetheo, boethos, all conveying the general idea of running to the aid of one who cries out for help (e.g., see He 2:18-note which uses boetheo) which is similar to the English word succour (from Latin succurrere = to run up, run to help) means literally to run to and so to run to to support, to go to the aid of, to help or relieve when in difficulty, want or distress; to assist and deliver front suffering; as, to succor a besieged city; to succor prisoners.
The Theological Lexicon of the OT notes that…
Connotations can vary from “to support” (Ezra 10:15), “to help out” (Josh 1:14; cf. Ge 2:18), “to assist” (Ge 49:25) to “to stand with to deliver” (Da 10:13; cf. Lam 4:17) and “to come to aid” (2Sa 21:17; cf. Ps 60:13 = Ps 108:13). To this extent, the Hebrew terms coincide with the English terms “to help” and “help.” (Jenni, E., & Westermann, C. Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament (872). Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers)
'Azar - 80x in 76v in the NAS - Gen 49:25; Dt 32:38; Josh 1:14; 10:4, 6, 33; 1Sa 7:12; 2 Sa 8:5; 18:3; 21:17; 1 Kgs 1:7; 20:16; 2 Kgs 14:26; 1Chr 5:20; 12:1, 17ff, 21f; 15:26; 18:5; 22:17; 2Chr 14:11; 18:31; 19:2; 20:23; 25:8; 26:7, 13, 15; 28:16, 23; 32:3, 8; Ezra 8:22; 10:15; Job 9:13; 26:2; 29:12; 30:13; Ps 10:14; 22:11; 28:7; 30:10; 37:40; 46:5; 54:4; 72:12; 79:9; 86:17; 107:12; 109:26; 118:7, 13; 119:86, 173, 175; Isa 30:7; 31:3; 41:6, 10, 13f; 44:2; 49:8; 50:7, 9; 63:5; Jer 47:4; Lam 1:7; Ezek 30:8; Da 10:13-note (Michael came to help another angel in a struggle against demonic forces!); Da 11:34-note , Da 11:45-note ; Zech 1:15
NAS renderings of 'azar = ally(1), furthered(1), granted(1), help(38), helped(19), helper(6), helpers(2), helping(1), helps(8), protect(1), restrains(1), supporting(1).
'Azar is compounded with names of God, El or Yah (-ah) in the following proper names
Azarel ("God has helped"), the name of 6 men in the OT. (6x - 1 Chr 12:6 25:18 27:22 Ezra 10:41 Neh 11:13 12:36)
Azriel ("My help is God", "God is Helper"), the name of 3 men in the OT. (3x - 1 Chr 5:24 27:19 Jer 36:26)
Azariah ("The Lord has helped" - a common name in Israel, especially among the families of the priestly line and describes 23 different persons including a king of Judah and one of Daniel's 3 friends.
Help or aid comes from a variety of sources: Thirty-two kings “helped” Ben-hadad (1Ki 20:6); one city “helps” another (Josh 10:33); even false gods are (unfortunately) believed to be of “help” (2Chr 28:23 - In America we call that "false god" money!) Of course, the greatest source of help is God Himself; He is “the helper of the fatherless” (Ps 10:14-note), cp Dt 32:38YLT, 2Chr 28:23) (See related study of the Name of God - Jehovah Ezer: The LORD our Helper).
Azar is used mockingly of the inability of idols or pagan gods to aid their people (Deut 32:38). It describes people helping each other to accomplish goals (Josh 1:14, 10:4).
'Azar is first found in the Old Testament in Jacob’s deathbed blessing describing God's help to Joseph: "From the God of your father who helps ('azar, LXX = boetheo) you, and by the Almighty who blesses you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb." (Ge 49:25).
In 1Chr 5:20 we see God grant Israel help ('azar) in the form of victory over their enemies when they cried out for His help. Is it possible that sometimes we fail to have victory in our lives because we are unwilling to humble ourselves and cry out for His help?
Then (time phrase when is "then"? From the immediately preceding context we learn that the Ethiopians were coming against Judah with "a million men and 300 chariots", which is what prompted godly King Asa to cry out for help) Asa called (LXX = boáo) to the LORD his God, and said, "LORD, there is no one besides Thee to help ('azar) in the battle between the powerful and those who have no strength; so help ('azar) us, O LORD our God, for we trust in Thee, and in Thy name have come against this multitude. O LORD, Thou art our God; let not man prevail against Thee."
Did God run to Asa's cry for help? The next verse says…
So (term of conclusion) the LORD routed the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah, and the Ethiopians fled." (2Chr 14:12)
Comment: And so we see Jehovah respond to Asa's cry for help, confessing his complete powerless, and expressing total confidence in and dependence in His Name. (see His covenant keeping Name Jehovah and especially "Jehovah Ezer") It is notable that God's help to Israel took the form of military assistance (1Chr 12:18; 2Chr 14:11; 25:8; 26:7).
Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah (meaning "watchtower" or "lookout" indicating a place where a panoramic view was possible) and Shen, and named it Ebenezer , (Eben = stone + ezer = help) saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped ('azar, LXX = boetheo) us.” (See Memorial)
Comment: This encouraging OT event should be read in context (the saga spans 4 chapters 1 Samuel 4-7) for the full effect. In summary, when the Philistines heard that the Israelites were at Mizpah, they supposed a revolt was in the making, and attacked Israel who was totally unprepared for war. The Israelites in a state of terror pleaded with Samuel to intercede for them, and he responded with a whole burnt offering, and prayer. God in turn responded and miraculously routed the enemy with loud thunder, so that Israel was victorious. In gratitude and recognition of the Source of their victory, the prophet Samuel "took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped (run to our aid upon hearing our cry) us.
He stone was named Ebenezer which means stone of help. God’s deliverance was entirely supernatural
the Lord thundered with a great thunder on that day against the Philistines and confused them, so that they were routed before Israel 1Sa 7:10
And it was very likely not a coincidence that God selected thunder as to confuse the enemy who worshipped the false god Baal who was the "god of storms". Jehovah, Israel's Helper came to Israel's aid when Samuel cried out, and the result was a defeated and humiliated pagan idol at Ebenezer.
If you have read the context as suggested (1 Samuel 4-7), you quite likely observed that the story began and ended with Ebenezer (1Sa 4:1, 5:1, 7:12). It began with a humiliating defeat of Israel at Ebenezer in (1Sa 4:1-22) but it ended with a resounding ("thunderous") victory by Jehovah in (1Sa 7:1-17) at the site memorialized by a stone named Ebenezer. What was the difference? Why did God help Israel? In (1Sa 7:3, 4, 5, 6) we read
Then Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, "If you return to the LORD with all your heart, remove the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your hearts to the LORD (Related study Ezra 7:10 = setting one's heart) and serve Him alone; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines." 4 So the sons of Israel removed the Baals and the Ashtaroth and served the LORD alone (cp Jesus' words Mt 6:24-note). 5 Then Samuel said, "Gather all Israel to Mizpah, and I will pray to the LORD for you." 6 And they gathered to Mizpah, and drew water and poured it out before the LORD, and fasting on that day (cp Mt 6:16, 17, 18-note), and said there, "We have sinned against the LORD." And Samuel judged the sons of Israel at Mizpah."
Israel as a nation humbled themselves, sought God's face, turned from their wicked ways and prayed and God heard from heaven, forgave their sin, gave them victory over their enemy and healed their land for a time.
Beloved, is their some sin which need to confess and from which you need to repent? (cp Pr 28:13, 1Jn 1:9) Has God allowed "the Philistines" to defeat you time and again, trying to get your attention so that you might humble yourself and cry out for His Help? Beloved, may today be the day you set up a memorial stone and declare "Thus far Jehovah has helped."
See related resources on 1Samuel 7:12:
And (see context below) God helped ('azar; Lxx = katischuo = made strong, capable of prevailing against) him against the Philistines, and against the Arabians who lived in Gur-baal, and the Meunites.
In context this passage refers to King Uzziah of whom Scripture records that
he did right in the sight of the LORD according to all that his father Amaziah had done. 5 And he continued to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding through the vision of God; and as long as he sought the Lord, God prospered (this Hebrew word elsewhere describes the Holy Spirit's affect on persons making them powerful) him. 6 Now he went out and warred against the Philistines, and broke down the wall of Gath and the wall of Jabneh and the wall of Ashdod; and he built cities in the area of Ashdod and among the Philistines. (2Chr 26:4, 5, 6).
In contrast to godly King Uzziah Scripture records that the evil King Ahaz
At that time (time phrase)… sent to the kings of Assyria for help ('azar; LXX = boetheo).17 For again the Edomites had come and attacked Judah, and carried away captives. (2Chr 28:16, 17)
Comment: So "at that time" Ahaz was troubled by the nations which his fathers had subdued, Edom and Philistia, but instead of seeking help from Jehovah, Ahaz turned to a pagan king in the country that would eventually carry the northern tribes off to exile. It does make a difference who we seek help from in our time of need. Beloved, may God grant each of us grace to choose to respond like Uzziah and seek first the kingdom of God (Mt 6:33-note) for He alone is our ultimate source of help (cp He 4:16-note).
The LORD is my strength and my shield. My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped ('azar; LXX = boetheo). Therefore my heart exults, and with my song I shall thank Him."
Spurgeon's Comment: Heart trust is never disappointed. Faith must come before help, but help will never be long behindhand. Divine help is given us every moment, or we would go back into perdition; when clearer help is needed, we have only to put faith into exercise, and it will be given us." (Spurgeon's note )
See also Spurgeon's sermon on Psalm 28:7 - A Sacred Solo
Warren Wiersbe's Question: "Do you need help today? (Ed: Who doesn't? The failure to recognize/acknowledge our continual need for help to live this supernatural life in Christ is to fall into the trap of pride and it's ugly fruit which is self-sufficiency in place of "Savior" sufficiency.) Lift up your hands to the Lord in supplication and in expectation, and soon you will lift up your hands in jubilation and celebration." (Ed: A great way to begin the day!) (Warren Wiersbe. Prayer, Praise and Promises). Fanny Crosby's hymn echoes this call to continually be mindful of our need for Divine Aid…
Help me, O Lord, the God of my salvation;
I have no hope, no refuge but in Thee;
Help me to make this perfect consecration,
In life or death Thine evermore to be.
Help me, O Lord, to keep my pledge unbroken;
Guard Thou my ways, my thoughts, my tongue, my heart;
Help me to trust the word which Thou hast spoken,
That from Thy paths my feet may ne’er depart.
Help me, O Lord, when sore temptations press me;
O lift the clouds that hide Thee from my sight;
Help me, O Lord, when anxious cares distress me,
To look beyond, where all is calm and bright.
Help me, O Lord, my strength is only weakness;
Thine, Thine the power by which alone I live;
Help me each day, to bear the cross with meekness,
Till Thou at last the promised crown shalt give.
Hear, O LORD, and be gracious to me. O LORD, be Thou my helper. ('azar; LXX = boethos = One Who runs on hearing our cry and gives assistance)
Spurgeon's Comment: Hear, O Lord, and have mercy upon me. A short and comprehensive petition, available at all seasons, let us use it full often. It is the publican's prayer; be it ours. If God hears prayer, it is a great act of mercy; our petitions do not merit a reply. Lord, be thou my helper. Another compact, expressive, ever fitting prayer. It is suitable to hundreds of the cases of the Lord's people; it is well becoming in the minister when he is going to preach, to the sufferer upon the bed of pain, to the toiler in the field of service, to the believer under temptation, to the man of God under adversity; when God helps, difficulties vanish. He is the help of his people, a very present help in trouble."
Lord, be thou my helper. I see many fall; I shall fall too except thou hold me up. I am weak; I am exposed to temptation. My heart is deceitful. My enemies are strong. I cannot trust in man; I dare not trust in myself. The grace I have received will not keep me without thee. Lord, be thou my helper. In every duty; in every conflict; in every trial; in every effort to promote the Lord's cause; in every season of prosperity; in every hour we live, this short and inspired prayer is suitable. May it flow from our hearts, be often on our lips, and be answered in our experience. For if the Lord help us, there is no duty which we cannot perform; there is no foe which we cannot overcome; there is no difficulty which we cannot surmount. James Smith's Daily Remembrancer. (Spurgeon, Treasury of David)
And the Lord helps ('azar; LXX = boao) them (Who? Ps 37:37, 38, 39 "the blameless… the upright… a man of peace… the righteous"), and delivers them. He delivers them from the wicked, and saves them, because they take refuge in Him.
Spurgeon's Comment: "In all future time Jehovah will stand up for his chosen. Our Great Ally will bring up his forces in the heat of the battle. He shall deliver them from the wicked. As he rescued Daniel from the lions, so will he preserve his beloved from their enemies; they need not therefore fret, nor be discouraged." (Spurgeon, Treasury of David)
John Trapp comments on the King James rendering "the LORD shall help them" (Ps 37:40KJV) writing: "He shall, He shall, He shall. Oh, the rhetoric of God! the safety of the saints! the certainty of the promises!"
God is in the midst of her (Who is her? Check the context - "her" = "the city of God"), she will not be moved (wavering, wobbling action); God will help ('azar; LXX = boetheo = run to her assistance upon hearing her cry for help) her when morning dawns.
Spurgeon's Comment: "God is in the midst of her. His help is therefore sure and near. Is she besieged, then he is himself besieged within her, and we may be certain that he will break forth upon his adversaries. How near is the Lord to the distresses of his saints, since he sojourns in their midst! Let us take heed that we do not grieve him; let us have such respect to him as Moses had when he felt the sand of Horeb's desert to be holy, and put off his shoes from off his feet when the Lord spake from the burning bush.
She shall not be moved. How can she be moved unless her enemies move her Lord also? His presence renders all hope of capturing and demolishing the city utterly ridiculous. The Lord is in the vessel, and she cannot, therefore, be wrecked.
God shall help her. Within her he will furnish rich supplies, and outside her walls he will lay her foes in heaps like the armies of Sennacherib, when the angel went forth and smote them. And that right early. As soon as the first ray of light proclaims the coming day, at the turning of the morning God's right arm shall be outstretched for his people. The Lord is up betimes. We are slow to meet him, but he is never tardy in helping us. Impatience complains of divine delays, but in very deed the Lord is not slack concerning his promise. Man's haste is often folly, but God's apparent delays are ever wise; and when rightly viewed, are no delays at all." (Spurgeon, Treasury of David)
Behold, God is my helper ('azar; LXX = boetheo = runs to my assistance upon hearing my cry for help); The Lord is the sustainer of my soul.
Spurgeon's Comment: David now is trusting the Lord. It's one thing to cry out to God, but it's something else to believe that He is going to hear and answer." (Warren Wiersbe. Prayer, Praise and Promises).
David "saw enemies everywhere, and now to his joy as he looks upon the band of his defenders he sees one whose aid is better than all the help of men; he is overwhelmed with joy at recognizing his divine champion, and cries, Behold. And is not this a theme for pious exultation in all time, that the great God protects us, his own people: what matters the number or violence of our foes when HE uplifts the shield of his omnipotence to guard us, and the sword of his power to aid us? Little care we for the defiance of the foe while we have the defence of God." (Spurgeon, Treasury of David)
For he will deliver the needy when he cries for help . The afflicted also, and him who has no helper ('azar, LXX = boethos).
Spurgeon's Comment: For he shall deliver the needy. Here is an excellent reason for man's submission to the Lord Christ; it is not because they dread his overwhelming power, but because they are won over by his just and condescending rule. Who would not fear so good a Prince, who makes the needy his peculiar care, and pledges himself to be their deliverer in times of need?
When he crieth. He permits them to be so needy as to be driven to cry bitterly for help, but then he hears them, and comes to their aid. A child's cry touches a father's heart, and our King is the Father of his people. If we can do no more than cry it will bring omnipotence to our aid. A cry is the native language of a spiritually needy soul; it has done with fine phrases and long orations, and it takes to sobs and moans; and so, indeed, it grasps the most potent of all weapons, for heaven always yields to such artillery." (Spurgeon, Treasury of David)
See also Spurgeon's sermon on Psalm 72:12 - The Poor Man’s Friend
Help ('azar; LXX = boetheo = run to our assistance upon hearing cry) us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of Thy name; and deliver us, and forgive our sins, for Thy name’s sake.
Spurgeon's Comment: Help us O God of our salvation, for the glory of Thy Name." This is masterly pleading. No argument has such force as this. God's glory was tarnished in the eyes of the heathen by the defeat of his people, and the profanation of his temple; therefore, his distressed servants implore his aid, that his great name may no more be the scorn of blaspheming enemies." (Spurgeon, Treasury of David)
O Help Us Lord, Each Hour of Need
by Henry Milman
O help us, Lord, each hour of need
Thy heavenly succor give;
Help us in thought, and word, and deed,
Each hour on earth we live.
O help us, when our spirits bleed
With contrite anguish sore;
And when our hearts are cold and dead,
O help us, Lord, the more.
O help us, Jesu, from on high,
We know no help but Thee;
O help us to so to live and die,
As Thine in Heav’n to be.
Show me a sign for good, that those who hate me may see it, and be ashamed, because Thou, O Lord, hast helped me and comforted me.
Spurgeon's Comment: God doth nothing by halves, those whom he helps he also consoles, and so makes them not merely safe but joyful. This makes the foes of the righteous exceedingly displeased, but it brings to the Lord double honour. Lord, deal thou thus with us evermore, so will we glorify thee, world without end. Amen." (Spurgeon, Treasury of David)
See also Spurgeon's sermon on Ps 86:17 - Tokens for Good
Therefore He humbled their heart with labor. They stumbled and there was none to help (Lxx = Boetheo)." 13 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble; He saved them out of their distresses.
Help ('azar; LXX = boetheo = run to my assistance upon hearing my cry) me, O Lord my God; Save me according to Thy lovingkindness.
Spurgeon's Comment: Laying hold of Jehovah by the appropriating word my, he implores his aid both to help him to bear his heavy load and to enable him to rise superior to it. He has described his own weakness, and the strength and fury of his foes, and by these two arguments he urges his appeal with double force. This is a very rich, short, and suitable prayer for believers in any situation of peril, difficulty, or sorrow.." (Spurgeon, Treasury of David)
The Lord is for me among those who help ('azar, LXX = boethos) me; therefore I shall look with satisfaction on those who hate me.
Spurgeon's Comment: Jehovah condescended to be in alliance with the good man and his comrades; his God was not content to look on, but he took part in the struggle. What a consolatory fact it is that the Lord takes our part, and that when he raises up friends for us he does not leave them to fight for us alone, but he himself as our chief defender deigns to come into the battle and wage war on our behalf. We are not to think little of the generous friends who rally around us; but still our great dependence and our grand confidence must be fixed upon the Lord alone. When our gracious Jehovah is pleased to support and strengthen those who aid us, they become substantial helpers to us." (Spurgeon, Treasury of David)
Let Thy hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen (Heb = to take a keen look at, a choice base on thorough examination and not an arbitrary whim) Thy precepts.
Spurgeon's Comment: Let thine hand help me. Give me practical succor. Do not entrust me to my friends or thy friends, but put thine own hand to the work. Thy hand has both skill and power, readiness and force: display all these qualities on my behalf. I am willing to do the utmost that I am able to do; but what I need is thine help, and this is so urgently required that if I have it not I shall sink. Do not refuse thy succor. Great as thy hand is, let it light on me, even me. The prayer reminds us of Peter walking on the sea and beginning to sink; he, too, cried, “Lord, help me,” and the hand of his Master was stretched out for his rescue.
For I have chosen thy precepts. We may fitly ask help from God’s hand when we have dedicated our own hand to the obedience of the faith. His mind was made up. In preference to all earthly rules and ways, in preference even to his own will, he had chosen to be obedient to the divine commands. Will not God help such a man in holy work and sacred service? Assuredly he will. If grace has given us a heart with which to will, it will also give us the hand with which to perform. Whenever, under the constraints of a divine call, we are engaged in any high and lofty enterprise, and feel it to be too much for our strength, we may always invoke the right hand of God in words like these." (Spurgeon, Treasury of David)
"David having before made promises of thankfulness, seeks now help from God, that he may perform them. Our sufficiency is not of ourselves, but of God; to will and to do are both from him. In temporal things men ofttimes take great pains with small profit; first, because they seek not to make their conscience good; next, because they seek not help front God: therefore they speed no better than Peter, who fished all night and got nothing till he cast his net in the name of the Lord. But in spiritual things we may far less look to prosper, if we call not for God's assistance: the means will not profit us unless God's blessing accompany them. There is preaching, but for the most part without profit; there is prayer, but it prevails not; there is hearing of the word, but without edifying; and all because in spiritual exercises instant prayer is not made unto God, that his hand may bc with us to help us." --Abraham Wright.
Divine help came to Daniel via the angel Michael - Daniel 10:13 “But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia."
In (Isaiah 50:7) a prophetic passage that describes the Messiah, we see the Messiah explain that He did not cover His face to protect Himself from humiliation and spitting because He knew "the Lord God helps ('azar; LXX = boethos = the Lord God runs on hearing Messiah's cry and gives Him assistance!) Me, therefore (term of conclusion), I am not disgraced (ashamed, blushing). Therefore, I have set My face like flint (a massive hard quartz that produces a spark when struck by steel), and I know that I shall not be ashamed. (Isaiah 50:7 read Messiah's entire declaration in Isaiah 50:4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9) In sum, because Messiah was certain of the Lord God's help He was determined to be firm and resolute amidst all contempt and scorn which He would meet, having made up His mind to endure it, and not shrink from any kind or degree of suffering which would be necessary to accomplish the great work in which He was engaged. It follows beloved, that as we walk in His steps and find ourselves "suffering for the gospel" we are enabled to set our faces like flint "according to the power of God" Who stands ever ready to send help upon hearing our cry.
'Ezer (5828) is a masculine noun which means help, support. It can also refer to a helper or one who assists and serves another with what is needed. For example in the first OT use where Moses records
'Ezer refers to aid or assistance that is given, whether material or immaterial. It is often Jehovah Who helps His people. Jehovah is called the shield or protection of Israel's help (Dt 33:29).
The Septuagint translates 'azar most often with the word group that includes: boáo, boetheo, boethos, all conveying the general idea of running to the aid of one who cries out for help.
The Lord as Israel's chief Helper (Ex 18:4; Dt 33:7; Ps 33:20; Ps 115:9, 10, 11). Israel spurns Jehovah's help in (Ho 13:9)
'Ezer - 21x in 21v in the NAS - Ge 2:18, 20; Ex 18:4; Deut 33:7, 26, 29; Ps 20:2; 33:20; 70:5; 89:19; 115:9, 10, 11; 121:1, 2; 124:8; 146:5; Isa 30:5; Ezek 12:14; Da 11:34-note; Ho 13:9. NAS = help 18; helper, 2 and helpers, 1.
Below are some of the uses of 'ezer…
The other (son of Moses from Zipporah) was named Eliezer, (El = god; 'ezer = help) for he said, “The God of my father was my help (LXX = boethos = the Lord God runs on hearing the cry and gives assistance), and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh.” (See note)
And this regarding Judah; so he said, “Hear, O Lord, the voice of Judah, and bring him to his people. With his hands he contended for them, and may You be a help (LXX = boethos = Who on hearing the cry of Judah runs to give aid) against his adversaries.”
There is none like the God of Jeshurun (literally "upright one" = righteous), Who rides the heavens to your help (LXX = boethos = the Lord God "rides the heavens" on hearing the cry of His beloved to give assistance), and through the skies in His majesty. “The eternal God is a dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms; and He drove out the enemy from before you, and said, ‘Destroy!’
Spurgeon continues his exposition on the help from the "God of Jeshurun" noting that:
Jeshurun means “righteous” and is used by Moses as a name for Israel to sarcastically express the fact that Israel did not live up to God’s law after entering the Land. This name should have served to remind Israel of God's calling to be His special possession and should have severely rebuked their continual gravitation toward apostasy. Such a rebuke would be especially emphatic in light of the dramatic picture that God Himself was willing to ride through the heavens to give Israel any help they would need to live as more than conquerors amidst the pagans!
Beloved, are we not all a lot like Israel, for we too serve the Most High God Who is Sovereign Over All and Who stands ready and willing to come to our aid on hearing our cry for His help and yet all too often we fail to cry out (Heb 2:18- note ).
Spurgeon adds that:
Oh that God would open the eyes of our heart to understand that such a Mighty God also condescends to be our Helper.
Blessed are you, O Israel; Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord, Who is the shield of your help (He is your shield and helper) (LXX = boethos = Jehovah runs on hearing the cry and gives aid) and the sword of your majesty! So your enemies will cringe before you, and you will tread upon their high places.”
Comment: The High Places refers to the elevated sites of abominable idolatrous worship which the LORD hated but which Israel failed to eradicate and in which tragically the choose to participate. In this verse we see that Jehovah provided all they needed to destroy the evil from their land.
May He send you help (Lxx = boetheia) from the sanctuary and support you from Zion!
Spurgeon comments: Out of heaven’s sanctuary came the angel to strengthen our Lord, and from the precious remembrance of God’s doings in his sanctuary our Lord refreshed himself when on the tree. There is no help like that which is of God’s sending, and no deliverance like that which comes out of his sanctuary. The sanctuary to us is the person of our blessed Lord, who was typified by the temple, and is the true sanctuary which God has pitched, and not man: let us fly to the cross for shelter in all times of need and help will be sent to us. People of the world seek help out of the armory, or the treasury, or the pantry, but we turn to the sanctuary." (Spurgeon, Treasury of David)
Our soul waits (Heb = tarries, waits long; Lxx = hupomeno) for the LORD. He is our help (Lxx = Boethos) and our shield.
Adam Clarke: Our whole life is employed in this blessed work; we trust in nothing but him; neither in multitudes of armed men, nor in natural strength, nor in the fleetest animals, nor in any thing human: we trust in Him alone “who is our help and our shield.”
Spurgeon comments: "Our help in labor, our shield in danger. The Lord answers all things to his people. He is their all in all. Note the three ours in the text. These holdfast words are precious. Personal possession makes the Christian; all else is mere talk." (Treasury of David)
Spurgeon: Here the godly avow their reliance upon Him Whom the psalm extols. To wait is a great lesson (cp Isa 40:31-note). To be quiet in expectation, patient in hope, single in confidence, is one of the bright attainments of a Christian.
He is our help and our shield.
Our help in labor, our shield in danger.
The Lord answers all things to His people.
He is their all in all.
Note the three "ours" in the text. These holdfast words are precious. Personal possession makes the Christian. All else is mere talk. The Lord is the help of His people in time of trouble, when none else is or can be; and He is a present one, and helps right early, and at the best season.
But I am afflicted and needy. Hasten (Lxx = Boetheo the same verb in Heb 2:18-note) to me, O God! You are my help (Lxx = Boethos) and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay.
See Spurgeon's sermon on Ps 70:5KJV, an exposition on prayer - Pleading (Subtitles = A Soul Confessing, A Soul Pleading, A Soul Urgent, The Soul Grasping God)
My help in trouble,
Once You spoke in vision to Your godly ones, and said, “I have given help (Lxx = Boetheia) to one who is mighty; I have exalted one chosen from the people.
See Spurgeon's sermon on Ps 89:19KJV = The People’s Christ
O Israel, trust in the Lord. He is their help (Lxx = Boethos) and their shield.
O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord. He is their help (Lxx = Boethos) and their shield.
You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord. He is their help (Lxx = Boethos) and their shield.
I will lift up my eyes to the mountains. From where shall my help (Lxx = Boetheia) come?
My help (Lxx = Boetheia) comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.
See onsite devotional commentary on Psalm 121
Spurgeon comments: Help comes to saints only from above; they look elsewhere in vain. Let us lift up our eyes with hope, expectancy, desire, and confidence. Satan will endeavor to keep our eyes upon our sorrows that we may be disquieted and discouraged; be it ours firmly to resolve that we will look out and look up, for there is good cheer for the eyes, and they that lift up their eyes to the eternal hills will soon have their hearts lifted up also. The purposes of God; the divine attributes; the immutable promises; the covenant, ordered in all things and sure; the providence, predestination, and proved faithfulness of the Lord—these are the hills to which we must lift up our eyes, for from these our help must come. It is our resolve that we will not be bandaged and blindfolded, but will lift up our eyes.
What we need is help,—help powerful, efficient, constant: we need a very present help in trouble. What a mercy that we have it in our God. Our hope is in Jehovah, for our help comes from him. Help is on the road, and will not fail to reach us in due time, for He who sends it to us was never known to be too late. Jehovah Who created all things is equal to every emergency; heaven and earth are at the disposal of Him who made them, therefore let us be very joyful in our infinite Helper. He will sooner destroy heaven and earth than permit His people to be destroyed, and the perpetual hills themselves shall bow rather than He shall fail whose ways are everlasting. We are bound to look beyond heaven and earth to Him who made them both: it is vain to trust the creatures: it is wise to trust the Creator.
Music related to Psalm 121 -
Our help (Lxx = Boetheia) is in the name of the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.
Spurgeon comments that Jehovah is: Our help for the future, our ground of confidence in all trials present and to come. Is in the name of the Lord. Jehovah’s revealed character is our foundation of confidence; his person is our sure fountain of strength. Who made heaven and earth. Our Creator is our preserver. He is immensely great in his creating work; he has not fashioned a few little things alone, but all heaven and the whole round earth are the works of his hands. When we worship the Creator let us increase our trust in our Comforter. Did he create all that we see, and can he not preserve us from evils which we cannot see? He has rendered us help in the moment of jeopardy. He will to the end break every snare. He made heaven for us, and he will keep us for heaven; he made the earth, and he will succor us upon it until the hour comes for our departure. Every work of his hand preaches to us the duty and the delight of reposing upon him only. (Treasury of David)
If you are doubting whether His Name Jehovah (I Am anything and everything you will ever need) can be your help, take a moment, close your eyes, and prayerfully listen to the beautiful song Names of God- May the Spirit of the Living God open the eyes of your heart to see that our very present help in trouble is Jesus our incessantly interceding Great High Priest (Heb 7:25-note, Ro 8:34-note). Amen
How blessed is he whose help (Lxx = Boethos) is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God
God - source of help and hope!
Warren Wiersbe adds: This tells us that God is all we need for today--and for tomorrow. When you know God, you have happiness, help and hope: happiness in walking with Him, help for the burdens of the day and hope for the concerns of the future. What more could you want? (Wiersbe, W: Prayer, Praise and Promises).
Our God, Our Help in Ages Past
by Isaac Watts
Our God, our help in ages past,
Under the shadow of Thy throne
Our God, our help in ages past,
Everyone will be ashamed because of a people who cannot profit them, who are not for help (Lxx = Boetheia) or profit, but for shame and also for reproach.
I will scatter to every wind all who are around him, his helpers (Lxx = Boethos) and all his troops; and I will draw out a sword after them.
Now when they fall they will be granted a little help, (Lxx = ischus = capability to function effectively, strength, power, might) and many will join with them in hypocrisy.
It is your destruction, O Israel, That you are against Me, against your help (Lxx = Boetheo).
'Ezrah (5833) means help, support, assistance, aid, either human or divine. It is often used in the sense of a helper or assistant, one who assists and serves another with what is needed.
Noted that 8 times (Jdg 5:23; 2Ch28:21; Isa20:6; Isa31:1-2; Je37:7; La4:17; Nah3:9), 'ezrah denotes military aid which proves ineffective.
'Ezrah - 26x in 25v in the NAS - Judg 5:23; 2 Chr 28:21; Job 6:13; 31:21; Ps 22:19; 27:9; 35:2; 38:22; 40:13, 17; 44:26; 46:1; 60:11; 63:7; 70:1; 71:12; 94:17; 108:12; Isa 10:3; 20:6; 31:1f; Jer 37:7; Lam 4:17; Nah 3:9. NAS translates as: assistance(2), help(22), helpers(1), support(1).
Click on the Scripture links below to read the passage in context and note who this helper often is in Scripture.
Curse Meroz,' said the Angel of the LORD, 'Utterly curse its inhabitants; Because they did not come to the help (Lxx = Boetheia) of the LORD, To the help of the LORD against the warriors.
Although Ahaz took a portion out of the house of the LORD and out of the palace of the king and of the princes, and gave it to the king of Assyria, it did not help (Lxx = Boetheia) him.
Is it that my help (Lxx = Boetheia) is not within me, And that deliverance is driven from me?
If I have lifted up my hand against the orphan, because I saw I had support (Lxx = Boetheia) in the gate,
But Thou, O LORD, be not far off; O Thou my help, hasten to my assistance.
Spurgeon comments: Hard cases need timely aid; when necessity justifies it we may be urgent with God as to time, but we must not do this out of willfulness. In the last degree of weakness he calls the Lord my strength; after this fashion the believer can sing, “when I am weak, then am I strong. (Treasury of David)
Do not hide Thy face from me, Do not turn Thy servant away in anger; Thou hast been my help (Lxx = Boethos); Do not abandon me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation!
Comment: Using a Hebrew expression which suggests God’s abiding nature as David's Helper in the past, now David pleads that God would not forsake Him at this crucial moment either. It is a good and godly practice to remind God of His past goodness and help and a firm foundation for pleading for present and future goodness.
See also Spurgeon's sermon on Psalm 27:9 - A Mighty Plea
Take hold of buckler and shield, and rise up for my help (Lxx = Boetheia).
Spurgeon's Comment: The Lord is pictured armed for battle, and interposing himself between his servant and his enemies. The greater and lesser protections of providence may be here intended by the two defensive weapons, and by the Lord’s standing up is meant his active and zealous preservation of his servant in peril. The psalmist thought of God as a real personage, truly working for his afflicted (Treasury of David)
Make haste to help (Lxx = Boetheia) me, O Lord, my salvation!
Spurgeon comments: Delay would prove destruction. The poor pleader was far gone and ready to expire; only speedy help would serve his turn. Affliction gives new life to our pleading, and drives us with eagerness to our God.
See also Spurgeon's sermon on Psalm 38:1-22 - Things to be Remembered
Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me; Make haste, O LORD, to help (Lxx = Boetheo) me… Ps 40:17 Since I am afflicted and needy, Let the Lord be mindful of me; Thou art my help (Lxx = Boethos) and my deliverer; Do not delay, O my God.
See also Spurgeon's sermon on Psalm 40:12,13 - Out of the Depths
Rise up, be our help (A short, but sweet and comprehensive prayer. Lxx = Boetheo), and redeem us for the sake of Thy lovingkindness.
For the choir director. A Psalm of the sons of Korah, set to Alamoth. A Song. God is our refuge and strength, A very present help (Lxx = Boethos) in trouble (Heb = tsarah = straits, distress, anguish; Lxx = thlipsis = pressure derived from word meaning to crush).
Comment: God is also “abundantly available for help in tight places”. Blessed are we when we realize that our safety and protection lie not in riches or armies but in Jehovah alone!
Spurgeon comments that God: He never withdraws himself from his afflicted. He is their help, he is present or near them, close at the side and ready for their succor, and this is emphasized by the word very. He is more present than friend or relative can be, closer even than the trouble itself. His assistance comes at the needed time. (Treasury of David)
See also Spurgeon's sermon on Psalm 46:1-3 - Earthquake, but not Heartquake
Warren Wiersbe has this devotional comment: This assurance from the Lord ought to take care of all of our fears and problems. God is our refuge--He hides us. God is our strength--He helps us. These two go together. At times in our lives we need a refuge. The storm is blowing and the battle is raging, and we have to run somewhere to hide. It's not a sin to hide, but it is a sin to stay hidden. God hides us so that He can help us. Then we can return to the battle and face the storm. This is not escape but rejuvenation.
The Old Testament contains 21 different Hebrew words for trouble. Here the word trouble means "in tight places." If you are in a tight place today, let me suggest that you run by faith to Jesus. But don't go to Him to escape. Go there and tell Him, "Lord, I want to go back to the battle. I want to go back to my work. I want to carry the burdens of life, but you have to give me the strength." Then you can claim this marvelous promise of Psalm 46:1.
Notice the conclusion: "Therefore we will not fear" (Ps 46:2). When God is available as your refuge and your strength, you have nothing to fear. Take time to run to the Lord.
Are circumstances overwhelming you? Take refuge in the Lord. He will enable you to continue with renewed strength and confidence. (Wiersbe, W: Prayer, Praise and Promises on Ps 46:1)
O give us help (Lxx = boetheia) against the adversary, for deliverance by man is in vain. 12 Through God we shall do valiantly, and it is He who will tread down our adversaries (LXX = Greek verb thlibo = literally to press together or hem in, which figuratively pictures sufferings that arise from the pressure of circumstances or from the antagonism of persons)
Comment: David acknowledged that victory had to come from God. The Israelites could not obtain it without His help. Who do you cry out to for help? On whose strength do you draw, the Lord's or your own? The source of your help and your strength will determine whether you experience victory or defeat.
MacDonald Comments: The believer’s enemies are the world, the flesh and the devil. In himself he is powerless to conquer them. And the help of other men is insufficient, no matter how well-meaning they might be. But there is victory through the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who trust in Him for deliverance will never be disappointed. (MacDonald, W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson or Logos)
For Thou hast been my help (Lxx = Boethos), and in the shadow of Thy wings I sing for joy.
See also Spurgeon's sermon on Psalm 46:1-3 - Experience and Assurance
For the choir director. A Psalm of David; for a memorial. O God, hasten to deliver me; O LORD, hasten to my help (Lxx = Boetheia)! (Click here for note)
David is urging the Lord to make haste to deliver him. He is crying out for immediate help.
Spurgeon adds that
It is not forbidden us, in hours of dire distress, to ask for speed on God’s part in his coming to rescue us… It is most fitting that we should day by day cry to God for deliverance and help; our frailty and our many dangers render this a perpetual necessity." (Treasury of David)
Warren Wiersbe asks: Has God ever been slow in your life? He was in David's. This undoubtedly was one of the psalms written when David was being harassed by King Saul. So he cries out, "Lord, why don't You do something? You're being awfully slow."
Have you ever pondered the delays of God? He is never in a hurry, but once He starts to work, watch out! He patiently accomplishes His work. David pleads, "Make haste, make haste" (Ps 70:1). He repeats his plea in Ps 70:5 : "I am poor and needy; make haste to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay." If right now it seems as though God is tarrying instead of working, if it seems as though He is delaying instead of acting, what should you do? Seek Him and wait on Him and love Him. Ps 70:4 says it beautifully: "Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; and let those who love Your salvation say continually, 'Let God be magnified!"' We've seen that phrase before. David, when he was sinking, said, "I … will magnify Him with thanksgiving" (Ps 69:30).
Here's a good lesson for us. When God is not moving as rapidly as we think He should, when our timetables do not coincide, what should we do? Rejoice in Him, love Him and magnify Him. Let Him worry about the timetable. God is always working, and we know that all things are working together for good (Ro 8:28). But He waits for the right time to reveal His victories. Let Him watch the clock.
God's delays are a part of your character-building process. The next time God gives you a delay, encourage yourself by remembering that He never stops working for you, and He knows when and how to help you. Submit to His timetable and His care." (Prayer, Praise and Promises).
O God, do not be far from me; O my God, hasten to my help (Lxx = Boetheia)!
Spurgeon comments: To call God ours, as having entered into covenant with us, is a mighty plea in prayer, and a great stay to our faith. (Treasury of David)
If the LORD had not been my help (Lxx = Boetheo), My soul would soon have dwelt in the abode of silence.
Comment: When God is your Help, when you have the strength of God that comes from His Word, you can stand up against the sin in this world.
Oh give us help (Lxx = Boetheia) against the adversary, For deliverance by man is in vain.
Now what will you do in the day of punishment, And in the devastation which will come from afar? To whom will you flee for help (Lxx = Boetheo)? And where will you leave your wealth?
So the inhabitants of this coastland will say in that day, 'Behold, such is our hope, where we fled for help (Lxx = Boetheia) to be delivered from the king of Assyria; and we, how shall we escape?
Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help (Lxx = Boetheia), And rely on horses, And trust in chariots because they are many, And in horsemen because they are very strong, But they do not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek the LORD! 2 Yet He also is wise and will bring disaster, And does not retract His words, But will arise against the house of evildoers, And against the help of the workers of iniquity.
Thus says the LORD God of Israel, 'Thus you are to say to the king of Judah, who sent you to Me to inquire of Me: "Behold, Pharaoh's army which has come out for your assistance (Lxx = Boetheia) is going to return to its own land of Egypt.
Yet our eyes failed; Looking for help (Lxx = Boetheia) was useless. In our watching we have watched For a nation that could not save.