The Need Of The SaviorRelated Media
The thought of need occurs frequently in our lives—perhaps all too frequently in some cases. It is not surprising, then, that it appears quite often (in several forms) in the Bible. It is found frequently in the Psalms. Thus a psalmist is cited as complaining that he is “poor and needy; may the Lord think of me. You are my help and my deliverer” (Ps. 40:17).1 Another psalmist says, “I am poor and needy; come quickly to me, O God” (Ps. 70:5; cf. Ps. 86:1). A psalmist in desperate need asks the Lord, “How long, O LORD? Will you be angry forever? (Ps. 79:5a) He then goes on to implore the Lord: “Help us, O God, our Savior, for the glory of your name; Deliver us and forgive our sins for your name sake” (Ps. 79:9). Still another suffering psalmist pleads with God:
Rescue me from my enemies, O LORD,
for I hide myself in you.
Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God;
May your good Spirit
lead me on level ground (Ps. 143:9-10).
As Futato remarks, “The psalmist wants deliverance in real time and space.”2 Perhaps more fully, Alexander points out that not only is this “a prayer for external safety” but the psalmist asks that he may experience “spiritual guidance without which such is unattainable”.3
Fortunately, those of us who are in need have access to the great Lord who answers those needy individuals who cry out to him. The needy are not forgotten (cf. Ps. 9:18). For,
He will deliver the needy who cry out,
the afflicted who have no one to help.
He will take pity on the weak and needy
and save the needy from death. (Ps. 72:12-13; cf. Ps. 107:41-43).
Indeed, the Lord hears the cry of the needy (Ps. 69:33) and comes to their aid (Ps. 113:7). Thus David remarks, “I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy” (Ps. 140:12; cf. Ps. 12:5). In another Psalm the author, who was in desperate need, called on the name of the Lord for help and found that,
The LORD is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.
The LORD protects the simple-hearted;
when I was in great need, he saved me.
Be at rest once more, O my soul,
for the LORD has been good to you (Ps. 116:5-7).
As Van Gemeren remarks, “the ‘name’ signifies everything a human needs in life and death, as the Lord has promised to be the God of those who call on him (Joel 2:32) and to deliver his children in their distress.”4
Regardless of their difficulty, those in need can find that they will “not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the afflicted ever perish” (Ps. 9:18). If the Lord is so gracious and helpful, believers should likewise do their best to follow his example and be available to help those in need. In the New Testament the apostle Paul points out that some believers are especially gifted to contribute, “to the need of others” (Rom. 12:8). This includes what people communicate to others so as to build “others up according to their needs” (Eph. 4:29). Rather than finding fault with others, believers should make it their habit to be helpful and encourage others, especially their fellow believers.
All the above passages serve as instructions for the committed believer. Therefore believers should not shrink back at laying their troubles before the Lord so as to seek his advice and leading. So it is that in yet another Psalm David pleads with the Lord, “Out of the goodness of your love, deliver me for I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me” (Ps. 109:22). In so doing, he feels that the Lord is his real help in the midst of his troubles (Ps. 109:30-31).
The book of Proverbs declares, “Blessed is he who is kind to the needy” and “Whoever is kind to the needy honors God” (Pr. 14:21, 31). A grand example of these verses is the “wife of noble character” found in Proverbs 31:10, for she is praised as one who “opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy” (Pr. 31:20). May all of us have a heart of genuine compassion that seeks to help others, especially in their time of great need.
May we, then, not only follow our privileged position as believers, but go to the Lord and lay our troubles before him praying earnestly for the needs of others. As the hymn writer says:
I need Thee ev’ry hour, most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like Thine can peace afford.
I need Thee ev’ry hour, in joy or pain;
Come quickly and abide, or life is vain.5
1 All scriptures references are from the NIV.
2 Mark D. Futato, “The Book of Psalms,” in Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, ed. Philip W., Comfort, (Carol Stream, Il., Tyndale House, 2009), 7, 423.
3 Joseph A. Alexander, Commentary on Psalms, (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1991), 558.
4 Willem A. Van Gemeren, “Psalms”, in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1991), 5, 726.
5 Annie S. Hawks, I Need Thee Ev’ry Hour (vv. 1,3)