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-Does God Really help Those Who Help Themselves?

by Dr. D ~ November 3rd, 2011

Barack Obama

                    (Image by jamesomalley via Flickr)

Yesterday President Barack Obama boldly said that even God wanted to put Americans back to work, implying divine support for his ‘jobs bill.’

He was being critical of Republicans in Congress for passing a bill supporting the national motto -“In God We Trust” while more important things were being ignored:

"That’s not putting people back to work. I trust in God, but God wants to see us help ourselves by putting people back to work."

Later, White House spokesman Jay Carney responded to those who thought the President might have gone too far invoking the name of God in a political battle:

"I believe that the phrase from the Bible is ‘the Lord helps those who help themselves.’"

"I think the point the president is making is that, you know, we have it within our capacity to do the things to help the American people."

Only problem, the popular phrase is really not in the Bible and later the White House was forced to admit it.

Actually it was one of Benjamin Franklin’s favorite phrases which appeared in his 1736 almanac. It reflected his belief as a Deist that God did not intervene in earthly affairs so people needed to take the responsibility upon themselves for making a better world.

However, it didn’t originate with him, the proverb can be traced back to ancient Greece. Nevertheless this brings up the question:

Does God really help those who help themselves?

After all, there might not be a Bible reference for it and yet the teaching might still be somewhat true. So is the phase actually true to Biblical teaching anyway?


The closest thing in the Bible teaches the flip side only. There are a myriad of passages which teach that the lazy or slothful should not expect any kind of blessing or help from God. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that God is going to bless those who work hard and help themselves.

Actually God is more likely to Help those who can’t help themselves or do all they can and ask for his help in the process. The popular phrase actually leaves God out of the process and seems to imply that we should expect God to go along with what ever we decide to do and bless us anyway.

Here’s two scriptures which teach nearly the opposite:

“He who trusts in himself is a fool…” –Prov. 28:26

“This is what the LORD says: "Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD."  -Jer.17:5

So there you have it. God is more likely to help those who trust in him, seek his guidance, and then do the best they can. Those who trust and ‘help themselves’ leaving God out of the process should not expect his help after all.            *Top

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