The Promise of Help
Have you entered the storehouses of the snow,
or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,
which I have reserved for the time of trouble,
for the day of battle and war?
What is the way to the place where the light is distributed,
or where the east wind is scattered upon the earth?
Who has cut a channel for the torrents of rain,
and a way for the thunderbolt,
to bring rain on a land where no one lives,
on the desert, which is empty of human life,
to satisfy the waste and desolate land,
and to make the ground put forth grass?
Has the rain a father,
or who has begotten the drops of dew?
From whose womb did the ice come forth,
and who has given birth to the hoarfrost of heaven?
The waters become hard like stone,
and the face of the deep is frozen.
Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades,
or loose the cords of Orion?
Can you lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season,
or can you guide the Bear with its children?
Do you know the ordinances of the heavens?
Can you establish their rule on the earth?
Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,
so that a flood of waters may cover you?
Can you send forth lightnings, so that they may go
and say to you, ‘Here we are’?
Who has put wisdom in the inward parts,
or given understanding to the mind?
Who has the wisdom to number the clouds?
Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens,
when the dust runs into a mass
and the clods cling together?
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.”
The Gospels tell two stories of spiritual warfare between the disciples and evil spirits that I believe should be considered together to show us the power of God in us. The first story is in Luke 10 where Jesus sends out 72 disciples to preach, pray, heal, and cast out evil spirits in His name. They return exhilarated by the experience, ready to take on the world. Jesus gently reminds them that He saw Satan himself cast out of heaven, but that was not a thing to be excited about. What was more important was that they got to enter Heaven themselves.
The second story is from Luke 9 (conveniently). In this story, just before the 72 disciples are sent out, the main 12 disciples fail to dispel an evil spirit that causes seizures in a young boy. Obviously, the disciples thought they had the power to do this, but they were wrong. Some might argue that this was because the event happened before Pentecost and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. However, Luke, the author did not think so since they are casting out demons and performing miracles just one chapter later. Where then do we get answer for what changed in between Chapter 9 and Chapter 10? In the middle.
An argument arose among them as to which one of them was the greatest. But Jesus, aware of their inner thoughts, took a little child and put it by his side, and said to them, “Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me; for the least among all of you is the greatest.”
John answered, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.” But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him; for whoever is not against you is for you.”
Two more stories depicting greatness and power. One word to describe them both: Help. Children are great in the kingdom because they ask for help. They do not fall under the delusion of power and invincibility until those teenage hormones begin to kick in. In God’s kingdom, His people ask for help, and they receive it. The disciples questioned help from an outside source (Imagine what they would think of 60 more exorcists to join the work in Chapter 10!). Jesus did not question it. He, like the little children accepted and rejoiced in it. Even He was not too good to ask for help as He prayed that God would raise up more disciples. Here God answered that prayer.
God blasted Job with rhetorical questions about His power and Job’s weakness, not to humiliate him, but to remind him that help was there for the asking. One thing I notice in Job’s story is a (perhaps) feigned sense of modesty i- accepting his losses without complaint. While refusing to complain may be taking a more noble road, it is still more prideful than being truly humble and asking for help. Prior to the disaster, Job was trying to maintain success and prosperity by his own work. He would ask for forgiveness, but not help. Jesus tells us in John’s gospel that the Holy Spirit’s job is to be our Advocate – on- Helper. He is our power. Not just the source of our power… the Holy Spirit is our power. Whatever comes our way, we have someone we can ask for help.
What do you need help with today?
How are you allowing God’s Spirit to help you?