When Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana in 2005, people who were trapped in their homes wrote “Help!” on their roofs. They wanted to be saved from the flooding. As soon as they saw the Coast Guard helicopters coming for them, they still yelled and waved. But this time, they yelled “Help! Help is here!” with a different tone. They could see their rescuers coming. They knew they were saved.
Back in the Old Testament days, the Israelites shouted, “Help!” The Hebrew word for it was Ho-shi-ya na. (Today we simply say, “Hosanna!”) In Psalm 118, the Israelites shouted, “We beg you, O Lord, save us!” and then they recognized the source of their help: “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord” (verses 25,26). They knew they needed saving from their enemies, and they also knew that they were saved because God delivered them.
Hoshiya na started off as a cry for help, but—just like those people who were trapped because of the hurricane saw the helicopters—the meaning changed: “Help is here! We’re saved!” These were the same words that people shouted when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. They knew they needed a Savior, and they saw that salvation had arrived.
You know you are sinful and need help. When you say Hosanna, you are telling Jesus, “Save me!” You also know, “Help is here! We’re saved!”
Chomp on this!
How has God helped you when you were feeling trapped?
Dear Jesus, thank you for coming to hoshiya na, for coming to save us. We look at you and know that help has arrived. You are our salvation. Hosanna! Amen.