BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
“Now Moses said to Hobab the son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses’ father-in-law, ‘We are setting out for the place of which the LORD said, ‘I will give it to you.’ Come with us, and we will treat you well; for the LORD has promised good things to Israel.’ And he said to him, ‘I will not go, but I will depart to my own land and to my relatives’” (Numbers 10:29-30 New King James Version).
Nobody is a superman. Everybody needs help; if not immediately, certainly not long from now. From the passage you’ve just read, I want to share some truths with you about help and helpers. Learn how to appreciate, complement, and affirm people. Let them know you value them and their contribution. If you don’t tell them, they won’t know. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
See Laban’s example in Genesis 30:27-28. This scripture says, “And Laban said to him, ‘Please stay, if I have found favor in your eyes, for I have learned by experience that the LORD has blessed me for your sake.’ Then he said, ‘Name me your wages, and I will give it’” (NKJV).
The Bible does not record that he said that before then. It was unlikely he did, otherwise he wouldn’t have treated him the way he did, cheating him. As Jacob later told his two wives, Laban’s daughters, he deceived him and changed his wages ten times. It was not until Jacob wanted to leave that Laban acknowledged his contribution to his business.
Also, see Joseph’s contribution to Portiphar’s life: “Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. And Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him down there. The LORD was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD made all he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority. So it was, from the time that he had made him overseer of his house and all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the LORD was on all that he had in the house and in the field. Thus he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand, and he did not know what he had except for the bread which he ate…” (Genesis 39:1-6 NKJV).
Joseph’s master was sensitive and recognized that there was a relationship between the presence and role of Joseph and the prosperity in his family. He knew it wasn’t accidental. Therefore, he deliberately maximized it by making him the manager, or overseer of his house. He put every affair of his house under the authority of Joseph.
It is also possible for things to begin to go wrong, degenerate, break down, etc. because of one person. Such a person is not a blessing; he’s a curse. He needs to be removed, for any significant change to take place. Jonah told the mariners on the sea with him as they were trying to find the cause of and solution to the storm, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me” (Jonah 1:12 NKJV). They were reluctant to do that and the storm persisted. But as soon as they cast him into the sea, the storm ceased.
What you should do
1. Don’t be stingy with commendation but don’t flatter people. There is a difference between the two. Whereas commendation is a truthful communication, flattery is deceitful communication. Whereas commendation is healthy, flattery is injurious. Proverbs 29:5 says, “A man who flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his feet” (NKJV). Paul said he didn’t use flattering words in the preaching of the gospel (1 Thessalonians 2:5). Hear the prayer of David: “May the LORD cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaks proud things” (Psalm 12:3 NKJV).
When people deserve commendation, don’t deny them; don’t withhold it. Commendation serves as an encouragement to do better. Never flatter anyone.
2. Don’t be ashamed or proud to ask for help from those you believe would be useful to you. Don’t have a false sense of self-sufficiency. As I’ve said, nobody is a superman. Don’t be proud to invite those you think would add value to your mission or project. Nobody knows it all; no one can do everything.
Moses invited Hobab to be their guide through the wilderness because he was familiar with the route but he rejected the invitation. “Now Moses said to Hobab the son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses’ father-in-law, ‘We are setting out for the place of which the LORD said, ‘I will give it to you.’ Come with us, and we will treat you well; for the LORD has promised good things to Israel.’ And he said to him, ‘I will not go, but I will depart to my own land and to my relatives’” (Numbers 10:29-30 New King James Version).
However, Moses prevailed on him and persuaded him on why his help was needed. “So Moses said, ‘Please do not leave, inasmuch as you know how we are to camp in the wilderness, and you can be our eyes. And it shall be, if you go with us — indeed it shall be — that whatever good the LORD will do to us, the same we will do to you” (verses 31-32 New King James Version).
Although the Bible does not state Hobab’s reply to Moses’ plea, Bible scholars are of the view that Hobab changed his mind and went with the Israelites on the journey to the land of Canaan. Reference is often made to Judges 1:16; 4:11, and 1Samuel 15:6, which show how his family dwelled with the Israelites in Canaan. Even though it was Moses that God called to lead the Israelites, he didn’t despise the help of Hobab since he knew the places in the wilderness where they should camp.
Don’t despise the help of man. God also works through humans to help. That was why Moses listened to the counsel of his father-in-law, Jethro, in Exodus 18:17-27. However, don’t make a human being your source. God could have other ways He wants to help you than what a man can do. His thoughts are not our thoughts or our ways His ways (Isaiah 55:8). That was why He didn’t lead the Israelites through the shortest route after they left Egypt.
God works in mysterious ways. “Truly, O God of Israel, our Savior, you work in strange and mysterious ways” (Isaiah 45:15 New Living Translation). The Bible goes further to say in Exodus 13:20-22, “And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people” (New King James Version). This didn’t render useless the help Hobab could render. They’re complementary.
Other scriptures also make reference to the fact that God led the Israelites by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to be able to travel by day and night (Numbers 14:14; Nehemiah 9:12, 19; Psalm 78:14). Only God could have helped the Israelites this way. Thus, they could not afford to depend on the help of man, to the exclusion of the help of God. They needed the two. The miraculous leading of God does not make human guidance unnecessary.
3. When you invite people to help you, let them know why you’re inviting them. It is important they know the specific service you expect from them; the role you want them to play. Moses told Hobab, his brother-in-law, why he was inviting him or why he‘ll be useful to them. “So Moses said, ‘Please do not leave, inasmuch as you know how we are to camp in the wilderness, and you can be our eyes” (Numbers 10:31NKJV).
4. You need to pray about who you’ll invite to help you. This is extremely important. There are some helpers who don’t really help eventually! With such helpers, one would be full of regret. It’s not everybody who has the qualities or expertise you need who would be useful or beneficial to you. Therefore, you have to pray before you invite them or approach them to join Not all that glitters is gold. You’re not dealing with expertise alone; you are also dealing with the spirit in people.
Jesus needed helpers to accomplish His ministry because He couldn’t do it alone. But Jesus first prayed before He invited the twelve disciples. Even at that, one of them still betrayed Him (Luke 6:12-16). Imagine if He had not prayed at all or didn’t pray enough. You can’t afford to have more hypocrites around you or on your team than sincere people. Charisma is not enough; talent is not enough. Character is more important than gifts. Imagine you do not pray and your twelve helpers are Judases or traitors.
One traitor was enough to hand over Jesus to his enemies. Two traitors pretending to be helping you would be too many for you to handle, not to talk of twelve. Pray!
5. Not all the people you approach for help or invite would respond positively. Even after you’ve prayed, not everyone you invite will honour your invitation. You don’t have to be disturbed by that.
Jesus called a man but he made excuses. “Jesus called a man but he made excuses. “Then another of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, let me first go and bury my father.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead’” (Matthew 8:21-22 New King James Version). Luke 9:59-62 tells us two similar stories involving two people. The Bible does not tell us if these people followed Jesus. Also, the rich young ruler went away from Him sorrowful; he couldn’t follow Him (Matthew 19:16-22; Mark 10:17-22; Luke 18:18-23). At a point, many of the disciples of Jesus deserted Him because of His teaching (John 6:66).
Furthermore, don’t be surprised that not everyone you approach for help or invite would respond positively, even after you’ve prayed. The fault could be theirs. It could also be yours. When Jesus invited the twelve disciples, none of them rejected his invitation (Luke 6:12-16, 9:1; Matthew 10:1-4). They helped Him in His ministry and continued after His ascension to heaven.
6. Despite your prayer and patience, some people who join you may still go back or go their own way. It could be your fault, their fault, or God’s will. Lot separated from Abraham. He wasn’t supposed to have gone with him initially (Genesis 12:1-4, 13:8-12). Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, lost his place because of greed (2 Kings 5:20-24). There is no record of his ministry after the unfortunate incident of Naaman’s leprosy being transferred to him. After Elisha’s ministry was over, Gehazi was only seen in the King’s palace telling the story of Elisha’s ministry. He became a story-teller, not a miracle-worker!
No matter the reason or how people who were your helpers leave you, don’t be bitter. Child of God, all things shall work together for good for you because you love God and you’re called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). That’s why you should never allow anyone to replace God in your life. People may leave you but God has said He’ll never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5b). So, don’t be bitter because a helper left you.
People will certainly leave you at one point or the other for different reasons. Judas left Jesus to join the conspirators. He betrayed Jesus and lost his bishopric. That was a man who, along with the rest, was given the power to cast out devils and heal the sick (Matthew 10:1-8). He became a traitor and Matthias replaced him (Acts 1:15-26).
Demas abandoned Paul and went his own way. He quit the ministry and probably became an ex-Christian because he stopped loving Jesus but loved the world (2 Timothy 4:10). Demas went into oblivion!
7. There is help that only God can give you and He wants to give you. That is a vacuum that only God can fill. For instance, the Bible says, “And the Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. For we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in word” (Romans 8:26 NLT). No man can give that kind of help that the Holy Spirit gives.
Without despising the help of man, Paul, writing from Rome during his imprisonment there, told the Philippians that he knew that as they prayed for him and as the Spirit of Jesus Christ helps him, what had happened to him would turn out for his deliverance (Philippians 1:19). You need the help of God and the help of man. Jesus enjoyed supernatural provision in His ministry but He was also helped by human beings who contributed from their resources to support Him and His disciples (Luke 8:3).
Conclusion: Before you look up to man for help, first look unto God. The psalmist says, “I look up to the mountains — does my help come from there? My help comes from the LORD, who made the heavens and the earth!” (Psalm 121:1-2 NLT).
Pray before you approach anyone for help. That someone has what you need doesn’t mean God wants to use that person to help you. He may have it yet he may not give you if God doesn’t intend to help you through him. God knows who He wants to use to help you. If someone doesn’t help you, don’t get angry. Nobody is sent to everybody. God has His own way. You won’t miss your helpers in Jesus’ name. Wherever your helpers are, God will connect them to you and connect you to them.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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