"God helps those who..."

I liked that last line in the article yesterday. Once, on a walk, a woman I met on the street told me, "the bible says God helps those who help themselves." I asked her to show me where it says that.

At the time, I thought you might be able to find this message in the bible: "God helps those who help others." And perhaps that is true, to some extent. But I was thinking of that saying this morning and now I think you're more likely to find, "God helps those who cannot help themselves." (Maybe I should add, "...and look to him for help," but in any case it's much closer to the truth than the commonly used version.)

It made me think of the first of the "twelve steps": "We admitted we were powerless over our addiction...." When we realize we cannot help ourselves, we are more ready to be helped, and then it is clear that the help is a gift, and it builds our trust and dependence on God. I'm thinking of including these ideas in a teaching on the shepherds to whom the angels announced Jesus' birth. Why them? Why not someone already working for the salvation of Israel, religiously or politically?

God helps those who cannot help themselves.