“HELP, I need somebody, Help, not just anybody, Help, you know I need someone, Help!”
‘Help’ was written by one of the Beatles, John Lennon, 50 years ago. In an interview, he said that he had found it hard to cope with the meteoric rise in popularity of the boy band. He recognised for the first time that he needed help from a source outside of himself.
“When I was younger, so much younger than today, I never needed anybody’s help in any way.
But now these days are gone, I am not so SELF assured, Now I find I’ve changed my mind, I’ve opened up the doors.”
When we were born, we needed the help of our parents to feed us, clean us up, and do everything for us. But as we get older, we want to be independent. We want to be able to say that we are capable of looking after ourselves. We are the Captain of our universe, or so we want to think. But a crisis comes along and we cry out for help, and we are not so SELF assured. The sentiment of the song resonates with people everywhere, unbeliever, and at times, the believer alike.
John Lennon did not discover the answer to his quest. It is a cry of despair and hopelessness. The answer is not found in drugs or mind control. But where could he look? Here are the next lines of his song:
Help me, if you can, I’m feeling down,
Help me if YOU can. That means another human being to help him with his FEELINGS.
And I do appreciate you being ‘round. Help me get my feet back on the ground,
Won’t you please, please help me?
Again, he is looking to someone else to help him, and they need to be with him all the time.
And now my life has changed in oh so many ways,
My independence seems to vanish in the haze,
But every now and then I feel so insecure,
I know that I just need you like, I’ve never done before.
Yes, there was a temporary respite but soon he is back on his feelings. The psalmist in Psalm 121 had no such doubts or hopelessness. He KNEW Who there was to help him. Turn with me to Psalm 121, reading from the Concordant Version:
“I am lifting my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come?
My help is from Yahweh, Maker of the heavens and earth.”
This psalm is called a song of ascents. It is a song for pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem for the holy days. It is praise for the true God, not a useless idol. He asked the question, but it is a rhetorical question, he answers it immediately. “My help is from Yahweh.” There is no sense of hopelessness here. No despair.
Continue in Psalm 121:
He shall certainly not allow your foot to slip; Your Guardian shall certainly not slumber.
Behold He is neither slumbering nor sleeping, The Guardian of Israel.
Yahweh is your Guardian; Yahweh is your Protecting Shade at your right hand.
By day the sun shall not smite you, Nor the moon by night.
Yahweh Himself shall guard you from all evil; He shall guard your soul.
Yahweh Himself shall guard your going forth and your coming in, Henceforth and unto the eon.
The Creator of the universe does not slumber or sleep, unlike the false gods. He is ‘on our case’, day and night.
Elijah on Mount Carmel (as recorded in 1 Kings 18:27) taunted the false prophets with the words, “Shout louder, perhaps Baal is asleep and needs to be awakened.”
The God of Israel watches over His people. He is their Keeper and Protector (as the KJV calls Him). He preserves their soul - their whole being. Not just now, but for the eons.
Does that mean that as a believer, as a member of the body of Christ, we shall have no problems? Our foot will not slip, the sun shall not smite us by day nor the moon by night? Of course not, the experience of true believers denies that. So what does it mean? Does it just apply to faithful Israelites? Does the Apostle Paul have a different teaching for us Gentiles today?
Throughout the Greek Scriptures, not just in Paul’s letter, it is clear that trials and tribulations are common and inevitable.
In Romans 5:3, Paul explains why tribulations come. They are there to produce patience. We need patience. God doesn’t always get us out of a problem immediately. Whatever our loving Father God does is for our good. Patience produces experience, experience, hope. We are then not ashamed. Not ashamed? Ashamed of what? Ashamed of our sinful life, because we are looking to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. We are looking to the hills, looking above to God. Looking to the world to rescue us from sin is useless. The answer isn’t there. Why is the answer in God?
Continuing in Romans chapter 5, verse 8 - 10:
“Yet God is commending this love of His to us, seeing that, while we are still sinners, Christ died for our sakes. Much rather, then, being now justified in His blood, we shall be saved from indignation, through Him. For if, being enemies, we were conciliated to God through the death of His Son, much rather, being conciliated, we shall be saved in His life.”
Unbelievable! Just think, if we were conciliated when we were God’s enemies, how much more confident should we be now that we are no longer His enemies!!
God is the Creator of the Universe. We have a powerful, loving God who cares for us and knows our every need - physical, spiritual, mental and emotional. An idol made of wood, metal or stone, or the idols of the mind like lusting inordinately for fame and power, hasn’t the love, wisdom or power of our faithful God.
The cover of the Help! record had the four Beatles positioned to spell out a word with semaphore flags. Many assumed that the letters spelt out HELP. They certainly started out with that intention, but it was later decided that that arrangement didn't look good. There were two final designs. They spell out either N U J V or N V U J. So even the jacket design shows a confused message.
So far I have concentrated on looking to the true God of the Universe for help. But God uses different means to help us in our time of need. Yes, there is God’s Word, and His spirit, but there are also fellow human beings, even flawed human beings.
The Apostle Paul had the same problem that we have today. He recognized that when he died that the evangel must continue to go out AND NOT DIE OUT WITH HIM. He told Timothy, in 2 Timothy 2:2 -
“And what things you hear from me through many witnesses, these commit to faithful men [literally, humans], who shall be competent to teach others also.”
John Lennon would have benefitted by having a good mentor. Not a guru by the name of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It is not just mature believers who should mentor ‘babes in Christ’. We all need mentors, and not necessarily those who are older and long time believers. It doesn't have to be a formal relationship. It may only be a hint, a suggestion, not even words sometimes, just a person’s example.
You may have noticed, I changed a word in 2 Timothy 2:2. The Concordant Version shows that the word ‘man’ is literally ‘humans’. Not just another man, and not just between women and children.
It bears repeating that if someone thinks he has all the answers, all the correct doctrines, Paul warns, he knows nothing. God can and does communicate with us through fellowship with fellow believers including ‘babes in Christ’.
Even though “My help comes from Yahweh, Maker of the heavens and the earth,” it doesn't mean He can’t use human beings. If God can get His message through to people by a talking ass, He can certainly use me and you!!
The importance of mentoring or setting a good example is not just to help believers today, it is our heritage to future generations. John Lennon has an excuse, his mind was not opened to understand where his real help came from. The beautiful thing about looking to God for help is that all parties, the mentor and the mentored learn so much. Mentors learn to care enough about people that they want to see them succeed. Those being mentored learn the value of being vulnerable, open, honest and willing to learn.
One day, John Lennon will have the answer to his plea. Perhaps in the resurrection he will sang a new song.
“Help! I need somebody. Help, not just anybody. I need Yahweh, Maker of the heavens and the earth.”
May God speed that day!