“God helps those who help themselves.” I’ve heard this proverb since childhood. Many people think it’s in the Bible. It isn’t. Preachers will sometimes say it’s in the book of Hezekiah 6:1 (though there’s a person by that name in the Bible, there’s no book of Hezekiah!)
The well-known proverb was probably made famous by Benjamin Franklin in “Poor Richard’s Almanac.” But it goes back further in history, with a version in Aesop’s Fables, even to ancient Greece. But the Bible? No. There are certainly some words and teachings in the Bible about the importance of work, but this proverb is immensely incomplete!
So, I think the proverb needs to be re-worded for those who seek the ways of God and biblical teaching. One biblical re-wording is this: “God helps those who CANNOT help themselves.” We need help. We need help from God. Every believer eventually comes to the realization that we cannot help ourselves in everything. Jesus came to help us. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to help us. Asking God to help us is our frequent prayer.
Psalm 121 asks a question, “Where will my help come from?” Psalm 121 gives the answer, “My help comes from the Lord my God.” This help comes in many forms. Divine help comes in infinite ways. God’s blessings come directly upon us like a soft, gentle rain (sometimes like a thunderstorm). God’s help comes to us through the work and activities of friends, family, and church.
I think there’s a better, more simple way to rephrase the proverb.
Think of people in your life who need help. Believe: “God helps those!”
Think of people in your life who have physical illness. Believe: “God helps those!”
Think of people in your life who have emotional illness. Believe: “God helps those!”
Think of people in your life who have mental illness. Believe: “God helps those!”
Think of people in your life who struggle with believing in God. Believe: “God helps those!”
Think of people who don’t believe in God at all. Believe: “God helps those!”
Finally, make this a prayer for all, for everyone you know, for every person in the world: “God, help those. Amen.”