Do You Need God Every Hour?
There’s a hymn that begins with these words; “I need Thee every hour, O gracious Lord. No tender voice like Thine, can peace afford.” What does it mean when the song says; “No tender voice like Thine, can peace afford”? I can’t be 100% sure what the writer of this song meant, but the opinion of a few others, is that it means; No “other” voice than yours, can bring the peace that your voice brings, O Lord.
There’s a tenderness in the voice of Jesus, that nothing else can quite compare to. We’ve never heard the literal voice of Jesus, but we’ve heard His words. So really it’s the words that he spoke, that are “His voice”. But we can imagine what His voice must have sounded like, when Jesus spoke certain words.
How about these words that Jesus spoke, from Mark 2, verse 5; “My child, your sins are forgiven.” He must have said that in a soft and compassionate voice, don’t you think? And think of the peace that those words afford.
I’ve always thought this next verse shows the tender love of Jesus; Luke 13:34; “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her. How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wing..” How peaceful is the thought, of being gathered “under the wings”, of Jesus?
Here’s two verses that really get down to the tender heart of God. John 15:13 & 14; “Greater love has no man than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends, if you keep My commands.”
Don’t you think that when Jesus spoke the words of what has been called, “The Sermon on the Mount”, that He spoke in a tender voice? Certainly the words have a tenderness, and a peacefulness to them. Here’s what Jesus said, from Mathew 5, verses 3 thru 12;
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.”
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
“Blessed are you, when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great. For so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
All those words of Jesus, are tender, and kind, and compassionate, and comforting, and encouraging. Why did Jesus speak so compassionately, and so tenderly, to a crowd of people who were all sinners? It was because of His tender forgiving heart, wasn’t it? And we’re told in Ephesians 4:32, to have that same heart; “And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God, in Christ, also has forgiven you.”
But let me back up a few verses, and begin reading with verse 29; “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth..” The KJ says; “Let no corrupt communication proceed from your mouth..”
“Corrupt words”, that’s really what it means. “Corrupt” means worthless, it actually means rotten and decayed. That’s quite the opposite of “kind, and tender-hearted, and forgiving” isn’t it?
“Let no corrupt word proceed from your mouth, but only what is good for edifying, according to the need, that it may give grace.. (grace of curse is favor and kindness) ..that it may give favor and kindness to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God..” Now let me stop a minute here. We’re talking about our language, we’re talking about the very words that we speak, every day. Do you think it doesn’t matter to God, what words we use, and how we use them? Corrupt words, words that are worthless, and that are really just “rotten”, grieve the very Spirit of God. It matters to God how we speak.
Did you know that to “grieve”, as the word is used here, doesn’t mean to be just a little bit “irked”, or somewhat disappointed. It means to be deeply saddened, and deeply hurt. Emotionally hurt, and distressed. It’s hard to imagine that our words, and really our attitude, can have that kind of effect the Spirit of God.
It says in 2 Peter 3:9, that God does “not wish for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance.” In 1 Timothy 2:4, we’re told that God “desires all men to be saved and come to the understanding of the truth.” God cares doesn’t He? That’s why it hurts Him, when we talk like we don’t care. And that’s why Jesus could be so tender-hearted towards us, even while we were sinners. We’re told in Hebrews 4:15; “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we, yet without sin.”
To put it in common language; He’s been there, He’s done that. He knows and He cares. And He has a tender heart, and so should we. So.. “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” To be “sealed” means that you are “marked” as belonging to God. “Marked as God’s own possession”, for the day of redemption.
Ephesians 4, verse 31 says; “Let all bitterness and wrath, and anger and clamor and slander, be put away from you, along with all malice.” And then once again, verse 32; “And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God, in Christ, also has forgiven you.”
We need God’s tender-hearted forgiveness. We need His kind words to encourage us, and we need His grace, to give us what we can’t supply for ourselves. We need God, every hour. Now here’s a line from that song, that we should think about; In the second verse it says; “..Temptations lose their power, when Thou art nigh.”
You’ve been tempted haven’t you? We all have. Are you at peace, when we’re fighting temptation. No, you’re in turmoil. In turmoil, fighting with yourself, trying to decide what to do. It doesn’t feel good, to be tempted to do what you know is wrong. But what if temptation were to suddenly “lose it’s power”, what kind of feeling would come over you? Wouldn’t you feel relieved, and relaxed, and wouldn’t you feel at peace? You know you would.
Well, “Temptations lose their power, when Christ is nigh”. I know those are just words from a song, but it’s true. If you bring Christ into the picture, when you’re being tempted, that temptation simply doesn’t have the same power. In fact, the bible gives us a guarantee that it won’t have the same power. In 1 Corinthians 10:13, it says; “No temptation has overtaken you, but such as is common to man. And God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation, will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.”
What do you think that “way of escape” is? The way of escape that God has provided to be WITH us, every time we’re tempted? Jesus said, in John 14:6; “I am the way!” He’s the way to the Father, He’s the way to be saved, and He’s the way to endure temptations. I’ve often told you that the “way of escape”, spoken of in that verse, is our faith. And it is! It’s our faith in Jesus Christ. 1 John 5:4 says; “And this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.” Faith in who? Faith in the one who’s tender voice, makes “temptations lose their power”.
We need Jesus, every hour, to comfort us, to encourage us, to bring us peace, and to overcome temptations. We can’t do it without Him.
Now I want to read to you some words from another song. But this one’s not in our hymn books. This is a song that was sung by Anne Murray. Anyone remember her? The song is called, “You needed me”. Here’s some of the words;
“I cried a tear, You wiped it dry. I was confused, You cleared my mind. I sold my soul, You bought it back for me. And held me up, and gave me dignity. Somehow, You needed me.”
I can’t believe this song’s talking about anyone but Jesus Christ. Who else can buy back our soul? Listen to some more of the words;
“And I can’t believe it’s You, I can’t believe it’s true. I needed You, and You were there. And I’ll never leave, why should I leave? I’d be a fool, ’cause I finally found someone who really cares.”
“You held my hand, when it was cold. When I was lost, You took me home. You gave me hope, when I was at the end. And turned my lies, back into truth again. You even called me friend”.
“You needed me, You needed me.”
Is that true? Does Jesus Christ need you and me? He might not need us in the same way that we need Him, but I’d have to say; Yes, somehow, He needed me. And He needed you. He needs all of us! Again, He doesn’t need us, in the same way that we need Him, but somehow, He needs us.
How could God need us? The bible says, in Acts 17:24 & 25; “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Neither is he served by human hands, as though He needed anything. Since He Himself gives to all, life and breath, and all things.”
So then, in that sense, He doesn’t need us. But in another sense, somehow He does. Remember what I read from 1 Timothy 2:4, and 2 Peter 3:9? How God “desires that all men should be saved, and come to the understanding of the truth.” And how God is “not willing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance.” God has desires that need to be fulfilled. God says in Isaiah 55:11; “So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, without accomplishing what I desire.” “Without accomplishing My purpose”, some versions say. God has desires, and those desires will be met. And we, as believers, and as obedient children, are needed to fulfill God’s desires, and His purpose.
Now that’s a comforting thought; God needs you and me. We are needed. Not only in order to fulfill God’s desires, but what about His plan of salvation; What good would a plan of salvation be, if there was no one to save? In a sense, we are the fulfillment of that plan.
But we’re also needed to accompany God eternally, in heaven. Can God exist without us? Sure He can. But the question is; Does God desire to exist without us? We already read the verse that tells us that God desires all men persons to be saved. So Yes, somehow God needs us, to spend eternity with Him. Jesus needs us, to be a part of the kingdom, which He will present to the Father, to spend eternity with Him.
Jesus needs us, to accomplish the work of our Father who is in heaven. Jesus said, in John 9:4; “We, (all of us) must work the works of Him who sent Me, as long as it is day. Night is coming, when no man shall work.” Could God accomplish His work without us? Sure He could. But that’s not the way He ordained it to be. It is God’s will, that WE should be the ones, who work the works, that need to be done.
God needs us to do that. Remember the words to that song; I needed You, and You were there. Well, now God needs us. Will we be there? I hope we can say, Yes, I’m here. Isaiah the prophet said; “Here I am Lord, send me.” (Isaiah 6:8)
I hope we all can say; Here’s what your word says, and I believe it. Here’s what is says, and I’m here to do it.
I’m here to believe your word, and to tell it to others, so that they can believe it too. I’m here to do what your words says, so that others can see my good works, and glorify My Father who is in heaven. I’m here to teach others about faith, and confession, and repentance, and baptism for the forgiveness of sins, and to remain faithful to the end.
“I need Thee every hour”; To dry my tears, to hold my hand, to clear my mind, to give me hope, to buy my soul back, to raise me up, and to take me home. And somehow Lord, You needed me.