History turns on small hinges and there has been no greater turn than the fall of man as recorded in Genesis 3. Everything that is wrong with the world – war, disease, death, genocide – can be traced back to man’s rejection of God. So we might say the saddest verse in the Bible is found in Genesis 3. Except that it’s not. It’s found in Genesis 2:
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. (Gen 2:18-20)
In three short verses the story of the human race is told in three parts.
1: You need help!
You were born with needs you cannot meet. Needs for love, acceptance, and affirmation. These God-given needs were hardwired into you to lead you to the Source of all love.
God says, “It is not good for you be alone,” and Hollywood says, “That’s right, you need to hook up and find your Jerry Maguire. Only when you find the perfect man or woman can you say, ‘You complete me’.”
And God does a facepalm.
2: God is your Helper
In verse 18 God says to Adam, “You need a helper.” Then in the next verse God helps! He brings all the animals and birds to Adam for naming.
What do you think was harder: gathering all the birds and animals or naming them? God does the hard part; Adam does the easy part. Nothing’s changed. God always does the heavy lifting because he’s our Father and he loves us.
“Wait a second Paul. Are you saying God was Adam’s helper? Because I thought the helper was Adam’s wife?”
I’m sure Eve was a great help, but she wasn’t God. Her help was merely human help, while we all need God-sized help. God’s plan is to co-labour with you and do great, big, impossible things. Get excited!
Fun fact: The word for helper in Genesis 2 is ‛êzer. This word appears 21 times in the Bible and every single time it refers to the Lord. Here’s an example:
I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help (‛êzer) comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psa 121:1-2)
3: Man rejects help
And now we come to the saddest verse in the Bible:
But for Adam no suitable helper was found. (Gen 2:20)
What’s wrong with you Adam? God just told you what you need (a Helper) and then he provided himself as the answer to your need. (Or did you think those animals showed up by themselves?) But you didn’t see the Helper behind the help. You didn’t life your eyes to the hills and see the Creator himself helping you.
“No suitable helper was found.” That doesn’t mean there wasn’t one, because there was. He was right there helping. But Adam didn’t recognize him.
God: “It’s not good for man to be alone. Here I am!”
Adam: “It’s not good that you didn’t make two versions of me, then I would be twice as awesome.”
Have you ever seen Michaelangelo’s “Creation of Adam” in the Sistene Chapel? It’s a painting with a message. God is straining down from heaven to reach Adam, to help him, but Adam couldn’t care less. He laid back, leaning away from God. He looks like he’s watching TV.
God tried to get Adam’s attention but Adam wanted something else. He didn’t see God as his helper so God gave him what he wanted which was a copy of himself. “She shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man” (Gen 2:23). Adam’s preferred helper literally came from his own flesh.
Jerry Maguire was wrong
Eve was always part of God’s plan for Adam, but she was never meant to be his primary Helper (Ps 60:11, 108:12). Thank God for helpful spouses, but they cannot help you in the way that God helps. Don’t ever think a husband or wife will complete you. It’s not true. Only God can provide that which you need. You’ll sink your marriage if you put God-sized expectations on your spouse.
“Paul, I thought you were a grace preacher. Why are you giving marriage counselling?”
Because a helpless world needs a revelation of a God who longs to help us. Whatever your need, God gives grace so that you might be helped:
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb 4:16, NKJV)
How do I get help?
Here are three lies that will stop you finding God’s help today:
- I don’t need help (I can help myself)
- I can’t get help (I’m helpless)
- God won’t help (I’m hopeless)
The gospel truth is that God promises to meet all your needs (see Matt 6:25, Php 4:19). Believe it! Come boldly to his throne of grace knowing that your heavenly Father loves to help.
There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, who rides across the heavens to help you. (Deu 33:26)
Something I have been teaching my kids lately is this: Who get’s helped? Answer: Those who ask for help. So ask. Don’t be like laid-back Adam who looked to his own flesh for help. See the God who rides across the heavens to help you. Bring your needs to him.
Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. (Ps 63:7)