— Commonly Asked Questions —

Now That’s a Good Question

Published Date: March 27, 2023

What do you consider to be the most important question(s) you need to ask and answer correctly if you expect to live life successfully?  Potential questions abound, such as what is a successful life, why am I here, what is my purpose, how can I be happy, what will it take to make me content, why is life so broken and such a struggle, and when my life is over will it matter that I have lived? 

In my recent Bible reading, two life questions have emerged which I consider to be among the most important for us to ask and answer correctly if we have any expectation of living a full and meaningful life, which is the Bible’s definition of a successful life.  Each is a question that must be answered.  No “Next question, please” allowed.

The first question is found in Isaiah 36.  The question is, “Upon whom or what will we place our trust?”  Let me give some background to help you understand what led to the question.  The year was 701 BC.  King Sennacherib and his powerful Assyrian army were camped outside Jerusalem ready to capture King Hezekiah and the citizens of Jerusalem should they not surrender first.  Sennacherib sent a representative to speak with representatives of Hezekiah.  Sennacherib’s intention was to erode any trust Hezekiah had in either Egypt’s or God’s ability to help them.  His representative said to them in verse 4, “Say to Hezekiah, ‘Upon what do you rest this trust of yours?’”  Sennacherib could not imagine why Hezekiah and his people be so foolish to believe God would deliver them when no other god of any other nation had successfully delivered them from Sennacherib’s hands.  Hezekiah’s messengers returned to relay what Sennacherib’s representative had said.  As Isaiah 36 ends, Hezekiah and his people were distraught.  Hanging in the balance was this…upon whom or what would they place their trust?

The second question, “From where will my help come?,” is found in Psalm 121.  This Psalm was written by an unidentified man as he made his way to Jerusalem for one of the three annual festivals which Jews were required to attend.  The journey, depending on where in Israel one lived, was quite long and arduous due to Jerusalem’s steep rise in elevation to 3000+ feet.  It also was potentially dangerous due to attacks from both man and beast.  The writer of Psalm 121, pondering the difficulty of the trip, began thinking about how the journey to Jerusalem was like his journey through life. Thinking about how that journey required outside help, he asks in verse 1, “From where does my help come?”

Upon what or whom will we place our trust?  From where will we get our help?  Two questions which cannot be punted nor separated from one another.  Why?  Upon what or whom we place our trust ultimately determines where we will go for help. That is evident by the conclusion of Hezekiah’s story found in Isaiah 37.  Though Hezekiah was distraught over what Sennacherib’s representative had said, because his trust was in Jehovah God, his immediate response to the danger was to send a messenger to God’s prophet Isaiah.  His request was for Isaiah to pray to God for their deliverance.  Hezekiah’s trust in God led him to seek help from God and no one else.  The rest of the story as recorded in Isaiah 37 details how God rewarded Hezekiah’s trust in Him by miraculously delivering him and those with him.

The answer the writer of Psalm 121 provides for his own question also shows that where we put our trust is where we ultimately will seek help.  Having asked, “From where does my help come,” he declares in verse 2, “My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.” The help he needed to live successfully would come from the Lord God upon whom he had placed his trust.  His trust was grounded in the all-powerful Creator of the universe whom he was trusting to care for him around the clock everyday as Sustainer, Protector, and Provider.

There’s one more reason why it’s so important to answer these two questions correctly. Not only will where we put our trust determine where we will go for help, where we go for help will be where we will find hope?  Where we find hope will determine where our confidence for living through tough times will come.  If we put our trust in God’s ability to sustain, provide, and protect us, the hope we experience will not be false hope or hope-so hope, but genuine.  False hope and hope-so hope are based on conclusions about life drawn from human opinion, knowledge, wisdom, experience, discernment, and gut instinct.  Genuine hope is grounded in and informed by God’s wisdom, knowledge, love, and power which will sustain us through the most difficult experiences we face in life – the most difficult of which is our individual date with death.

Upon whom or what are you putting your trust?  From where will your help come?  Is your hope genuine or counterfeit?  Now those are some good questions.

— Jerry Long, Minister of Pastoral Care

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