Posts Tagged 'deliverance'

Panic Podcast: A Handful of Psalms, Part 2

Continue reading ‘Panic Podcast: A Handful of Psalms, Part 2’

EXCEPTional Bible Verse, Part 9

deliveranceMatthew 12:29

Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house. (Matthew 12:29 KJV)

How many times have you gone to the doctor with a sore throat, headache, and stuffy nose only to have him tell you, “You have a headcold”? Well, we know that doctor is a genius! He named your condition, just in case you grew up in a sterile environment and never had a cold before. When you have a sore throat, headache, and stuffy nose, you probably already suspect you have a headcold; what you want from your doctor is not a diagnosis of your condition but relief from your condition, or better yet, a cure!

In life – spiritual life and moral life – there is a lot of diagnosing but not enough curing. It’s one thing to know what ails your life, but it’s another thing to cure it. It’s one thing to know what your spiritual problems are, but it’s something else entirely to cure them. It’s one thing to know your sin problem, but it’s thing to cure it.

Both believers and unbelievers have the exact same issue. A lot of unbelievers have heard the Gospel, they may even know the “Romans Road to Salvation” by heart, but until they actually walk the “Roman’s Road,” they don’t have salvation. A lot of Christians may have walked the “Roman’s Road,” found Jesus as the end of it and accepted His gracious gift of salvation, but they still struggle with their sin sickness, even though the cure is right in front of them. It doesn’t matter what you know; it matters what you do.

The story behind our final EXCEPTional Bible verse really begins back in verse 22, so we’ll start there.

1. The setting

Matthew 12:22 – 45 is a section of this Gospel that shows the contempt and cruelty the Pharisees had in their opposition to Jesus. Here we see the worldliness of their hearts on full display; a dazzling example of how their legalistic religion had failed miserably, as legalism always does.

Then a demon-possessed man—he was both blind and unable to talk—was brought to Jesus, and Jesus healed him so that he could both speak and see. (Matthew 12:22 TLB)

Luke records this miracle in Luke 11, but he doesn’t mention the man’s blindness, only the fact of his inability to talk. Both accounts indicate that this man was demon possessed. Luke, a physician, would know the difference between a physically and mentally disabled man and a demon possessed man. We can be sure, then, that this man was possessed by a Satanic spirit, bent on destroying him.

It’s a remarkable miracle, and yet it’s told with such matter-of-fact brevity. We can only imagine the sense of relief the man must have felt when our Lord healed him! No longer held in a Satanic prison, but set gloriously free. No longer deaf and dumb, but now able to hear and express himself and, we may be sure, able to give praise to God for his amazing healing. Of course, all of this is supposition because the Gospel writers devote a mere verse to this miracle.

Both Matthew and Luke writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, want their readers – and us – to focus, not so much on the deliverance and healing of the demon possessed man, but on the confrontation that follows it.

The crowd was amazed. “Maybe Jesus is the Messiah!” they exclaimed.

But when the Pharisees heard about the miracle, they said, “He can cast out demons because he is Satan, king of devils.” (Matthew 12:23 – 24 TLB)

The NIV translates verse 23 a little differently:

All the people were astonished and said, “Could this be the Son of David?” (Matthew 12:23 NIV)

Taylor’s paraphrase captures the sense of the people’s reaction. This miraculous deliverance and healing was so spectacular, some people thought that this Jesus might just be the Messiah, who they knew would be a descendant of David. The people were literally “blown away” by what they had just seen.

Now, the question we need to ask ourselves is this: What kind of Messiah were these people looking for? We know that, generally speaking, the Jewish people of the day were looking for their “rider on a white horse,” a political savior, to swoop down and rescue them from their present difficulties: Roman domination, poverty and misery. In other words, they wanted – and they thought Jesus could be – the MAN with a plan, sent from God to save them; to deliver them from all their earthly problems. People haven’t really changed much since the days of Jesus. People are as clueless as they ever have been. They seriously think life would be “prefect” if only this problem or that problem could be solved. People today are NO different than this man:

…oh, that there were someone who would listen to me and try to see my side of this argument. (Job 31:35 TLB)

That was the cry of Job’s broken heart: if only somebody would listen to his prayers! If only he could get some relief from his problems in life. That’s what these Jews were looking for, that’s what a lot of people today are looking for, and some think that’s all Jesus is good for: a little relief from their problems. Nobody wants to minimize anybody’s problems, but if a person doesn’t have Jesus in their hearts, they don’t know serious their problems really are.

So, the people thought that maybe, just maybe, this Jesus could very well be the Messiah. But what the Pharisees thought was something else again. They actually thought that Jesus had used Satanic powers to work His miracles! They were jealous; they were envious, and they resorted to ridiculous accusations to oppose Jesus’ work. They could feel their power over the people ebbing away as more and more of them began to support Jesus. Their influence was on the wane and they hated Jesus for this. How very different these religious men were from John the Baptist:

So they came to John and said, “Master, the man you met on the other side of the Jordan River—the one you said was the Messiah—he is baptizing too, and everybody is going over there instead of coming here to us.”

He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less. (John 3:26, 30 TLB)

We can see the sad states of their hearts with accusation. Imagine accusing the Son of God of Himself being possessed by Satan! That’s in essence what these Pharisees had just done.

Our Lord, with wisdom and aplomb, answers them in a startling way:

Jesus knew their thoughts and replied, “A divided kingdom ends in ruin. A city or home divided against itself cannot stand. And if Satan is casting out Satan, he is fighting himself and destroying his own kingdom. (Mathew 12:25, 26 TLB)

This is a startling response to the Pharisees because Jesus actually “read their minds!” They didn’t say a word to Him Jesus responded to their thoughts. If that’s not a scary proposition, nothing is. You truly can’t hide anything from Jesus, even in your mind.

Jesus’ comments highlight just how ridiculous their thoughts were. The idea that Jesus was possessed by Satan and that He used Satan’s power to fight against Satan was, well, just plain stupid. It would be like a divided kingdom or a city or a home that is divided trying to stand together. It can’t be done.

Then, as if to twist the knife, our Lord ads this:

And if, as you claim, I am casting out demons by invoking the powers of Satan, then what power do your own people use when they cast them out? Let them answer your accusation! (Matthew 12:27 TLB)

Exorcism was not uncommon in Jesus’ day; it was practiced by some Jews, even by Jesus’ disciples on occasion. If Jesus was using Satan’s power to cast out Satan, then what power were they using? He was insulting them, as surely as He Himself was insulted. But He was also pointing out that other Jews were driving out demons and they, the Pharisees, never accused them of being possessed by Satan.

So far, Jesus has really put these Pharisees in their place! He basically accused them of being silly and absurd in their thinking about Him and His power. They saw the same things that the crowd of Jews saw, yet these educated Pharisees drew the completely wrong conclusion about Jesus. The conclusion they reached was absurd; it was the product, not of an educated mind, but of a warped and immature mind.

2. The crux of the matter

But if I am casting out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you. (Matthew 12:28 TLB)

Luke’s version of this statement is curious:

But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. (Luke 11:20 NIV)

A “finger” is but a tiny part of the body. If Jesus is able to drive out demons by just the smallest part of God’s power, how can the kingdom of Satan possibly stand? This statement is really a statement of fact: Satan’s kingdom is crumbling before the onslaught of the Kingdom of God. In Satan’s kingdom, sin, sickness, confusion all are the norm. But the Kingdom of God has arrived in the Person of its King; sin has been dealt a death blow, the sick have been and are being healed, and in Jesus Christ there is clarity of thought and of purpose. No wonder Satanic activity is on the rise in our day! He knows his time is coming to an end; that his domination of Earth if almost over.

And all this gets us to our EXCEPTional Bible verse:

Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house. (Matthew 12:29 KJV)

In one short verse, a tiny parable really, Jesus sheds a little light on the dark world of supernatural evil, allowing us a glimpse at how Satan works. The “strong man” is none other than Satan himself, and the house is really two things: this world of ours and the unregenerate heart.

The world belongs to Satan, temporarily

Many people, Christians included, are under the impression that Satan is in Hell. This isn’t even remotely true. Note carefully Ephesians 6:11 and 12 –

Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand safe against all strategies and tricks of Satan. For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies—the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world. (TLB)

It wasn’t always this way, though. Before the Fall, the crown was on Adam’s head. But after man sinned, Satan became the ruler of the Earth. This is his domain and will remain so until the Lord returns to claim it as His Kingdom on Earth. Yes, Satan is “the strong man,” but the One who is infinitely stronger defeated Him on the Cross and Satan’s days are numbered!

The human heart belongs to Satan, conditionally

Man without Christ is pitiful; he is owned lock, stock, and barrel by Satan. The unredeemed soul is his palace – he owns it outright. Man, through sin, has become the dwelling place for Satan. He may not possess every unsaved soul, but he owns them, and will claim those souls one day.

We know that we are children of God and that all the rest of the world around us is under Satan’s power and control. (1 John 5:19 TLB)

As surely as born again believers are under the influence and control of the Holy Spirit, so the unsaved are held captive and under the sway of Satan and demonic influences.

Once you were under God’s curse, doomed forever for your sins. You went along with the crowd and were just like all the others, full of sin, obeying Satan, the mighty prince of the power of the air, who is at work right now in the hearts of those who are against the Lord. (Ephesians 2:1, 2 TLB)

Until the sinner’s condition changes, that sinner will remain Satan’s stooge through all eternity. But this EXCEPTional Bible verse tells us in no uncertain terms that though Satan be strong, Jesus is stronger! Jesus is the One who has come into the strong man’s house to take back what is rightfully His: you and me.

And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them to eternal life at the Last Day. For it is my Father’s will that everyone who sees his Son and believes on him should have eternal life—that I should raise him at the Last Day. (John 6:39, 40 TLB)

HEBREWS, Part 4

The One True Man, 2:10—18

The teacher so far in his letter to the Hebrews, has given two reasons for the Incarnation. First, the Son of God became the Son of Man in order to restore man’s original purpose as the ruler of his domain. The first Adam failed in this purpose, and therefore no human being since has been able to fulfil Genesis 1:26—

Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

When Jesus came as the Second Adam, He did not sin; He succeeded where the first Adam failed, therefore, in time, God’s original purpose for man will be restored.

The second reason for the Incarnation was so that the Savior could taste death one time for all men. Jesus would die the kind of death reserved for all sinners so that redeemed sinners would never have to experience it.

The third reason for the Incarnation is given in verses 10—13: He came so that He might bring many sons to glory.

1. Jesus and His family, 2:10—13

In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. He says,

I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters;
in the assembly I will sing your praises.”

And again, I will put my trust in him.”

And again he says, Here am I, and the children God has given me.”

In verse 9, the author stated that Jesus suffered the pains of death for everyone. In verse 10, he describes precisely who “everyone” includes: sons and daughters, the saved. It may seem odd that something is described as being “fitting” for God to do, but the way of salvation is not arbitrary, but totally befitting the character of God. Since all things were created for Him and since through Him all things exist, then it makes sense that God would do anything in keeping with His character to save what He has created. Therefore, all the sufferings and humiliation of His Son did not take happen by chance; they, in fact, proceeded from His eternal purpose for man.

It’s important to note that the subject of verse 10 is God. The plan of salvation was His. It was not Jesus’. The suffering and death of Jesus was not the Devil’s idea. It was God’s.

Jesus is referred to “the pioneer” of our salvation. The ESV calls Him “the founder” of salvation, and the KJV says that our Savior is “the captain” of our salvation. What does this say about Jesus? Simply this: Jesus went ahead of us. God made Him experience awful suffering to bring about our perfection. It was God’s will for Him to suffer in order to bring about the salvation of “many sons and daughters.” When the Son completed His assigned task, He became the founder of our salvation. He alone was given the responsibility of leading the elect out of a life of bondage to sin to a life of eternal happiness. Or, as Theodore Epp once wrote:

Christ was not content to be crowned alone with glory and honor; He desired to bring many to share His glory with Him.

The “perfection” the writer refers to does not mean that Jesus was ever imperfect and that His work made Him perfect. It simply means that Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Son of Man, completed His work. The eternal purpose of the Incarnation was finally accomplished.

In verse 11, the writer to the Hebrews links the Savior to those He came to save. It was God’s eternal purpose to identify as many sons and daughters with His Son in glory; and through the great Incarnation of the Messiah, He so identified Himself with mankind that He could consider them HIS brothers and sisters.

But this incredible union between the saved and their Savior is not something new to the New Testament! In another stroke of genius, our teacher quotes a couple of Old Testament verses that actually anticipated the glorious Incarnation:

I will declare your name to my people; in the assembly I will praise you. (Psalm 22:22)

I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the descendants of Jacob. I will put my trust in him. Here am I, and the children the LORD has given me. We are signs and symbols in Israel from the LORD Almighty, who dwells on Mount Zion. (Isaiah 8:17, 18)

The quote from Psalm 22 is a direct reference to the Messiah, and the two quotes from Isaiah are indirect references. In those verses, the prophet Isaiah identifies himself with the very people who have rejected the Lord and rejected him as a messenger from the Lord. Isaiah chooses to identify himself with his people in spite of their rebellion. The writer to Hebrews, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, takes Isaiah’s verses about himself as a foreshadow of Christ’s identification with people, sinners, who are in rebellion against God.

2. Jesus’ 6-fold purpose, 2:14—18

Jesus not only identified Himself with human beings in the Incarnation, but He managed to accomplish no less than six significant things.

a. To destroy the devil, 2:14

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—

The crucifixion of Jesus Christ was a divine judgment on Satan. But make no mistake about it, this world and the world system is, at this present time, Satan’s territory. Remember, we have not been restored to our original purpose yet. Ever since the Fall, mankind has been living on Satan’s land. He is the prince of the power of the air, the god of this age. He is a defeated foe, but he is still on the loose, “seeking whom he may devour.”

This is why any and every worldview apart from a biblical worldview ultimately opposes the plans and purposes of God. This is why believers, when they live lives wholly committed to Jesus Christ, sometimes feel out of place on this earth. Christians, for the time being at least, are “strangers in a strange land,” often living under hostile rule.

But this verse makes it plain: Satan has been defeated by Jesus Christ. He has not been annihilated, but his power was broken—annulled, legally canceled. The Incarnation actually lured Satan into defeating himself by using own weapon! By killing Jesus, the Devil forfeited all his legal rights, for he killed the only One he had no claim on, the only One who had never sinned. And by His resurrection, the power of death was decisively broken. The first Adam gave Satan the advantage by selling the human race into slavery to Satan. The glorious Second Adam overturned Satan’s advantage and He rescued the human race from its slavery.

b. To deliver those in bondage, 2:15

...and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

In human experience, man’s fear of death is related to Satan’s power of death. With the end of Satan’s power, comes the end of man’s fear of death. And this is such a pitiful kind of bondage. It causes man to do all kinds of strange things to try and extend or preserve his puny life. But because Jesus Christ is able to deliver all people from all judgment, He can remove the fear of death. Anybody who has ever experienced the New Birth has an assurance that at the very moment of physical death, they will be ushered into the presence of the Savior. The apostle Paul described the Christian’s conundrum like this:

Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:6—8)

c. To become our great High Priest, 2:16, 17a

For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God…

The Incarnation was essential, not only so Jesus could become the Savior of all mankind, but so that He could become a High Priest for those He came to save. As a Savior, He delivers us from the power of Satan; as a High Priest, He delivers us from the condemnation of God.

A priest is a mediator between God and man; he represents God before men and represents men before God. Since Jesus Christ is the Son of God, He is eminently qualified to represent God before men. And as the Son of Man, through the Incarnation, He is eminently qualified to represent men before God!

Because our Savior is the perfect Son of God and the perfect Son of Man, He is completely merciful because He understands the pain, the miseries and the temptations all men face because He Himself faced them in their full intensity. And He is a faithful representation of God; He is able to manifest God’s perfect faithfulness to us.

So the Incarnation was absolutely necessary to provide the kind of High Priest we needed to represent us in our desperate need before God.

d. To make propitiation for sins, 2:17b

that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.

The phrase “make atonement” may not be the best rendering of hilaskesthai, which means “to propitiate,” not “to make atonement,” and means “to put away God’s wrath.” When we sin, we make God angry, which is not to say we “make God mad.” God’s anger is holy; it is not His temper in action. God never “blows His top.” When we arouse God’s anger, we become His enemy. Part of our salvation involves ending God’s wrath towards us. The way this verse is written in the original language makes it clear that the work of Christ ended God’s wrath directed at His people only; that is, only those who have confessed Christ and are living for Him are living wrath-free! Unrepentant sinners are living under God’s wrath, and one day will experience it first hand.

e. To help those who are tempted, 2:18

Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

The sufferings Jesus endured enable Him to help others. Jesus didn’t just suffer on the Cross; He suffered His whole life. There is no temptation you can face that Jesus hasn’t already faced. Being who and what He is, Jesus’ temptations must have been horrific in nature. And Jesus faced the full force of every temptation because He never yielded. Human beings almost never face temptation’s full force because we give in. But Jesus never gave in. He fully identifies with what you are going through.

For many of us, defeat begins when temptation begins. Most of us are good at not giving into the temptation to commit murder. Most of us are good at overcoming the lustful thoughts that flow through our minds on a daily basis. But what about the temptation to despair? Or to get really, really mad at somebody? What about the temptation to become depressed or discouraged? What about the temptation to worry and fret? All those things have the potential to become sinful. What about temptation to not go to church or to not pray because you’re too tired? Or what about the temptation to compromise your testimony because of a decision you want to make that may not be what God wants for you?

Jesus understands what we all go through. Though our temptations come from within from our own sin nature, and from without from the adversary of our souls, Jesus understands our weaknesses, He understands the full power of temptation, and is able to help, if we would but ask. He is able to deliver completely.

(c)  2011 WitzEnd

GOD’S ANOINTED: David’s Song of Deliverance

David’s Song of Deliverance, 2 Samuel 22

This long chapter in 2 Samuel has long been considered to be one of the oldest major poems in the Old Testament.  It is paralleled, almost verbatim, by two psalms, 18 and 28.  Even though David’s words of praise appear near the end of his history, it belongs to the early part of his life, as indicated by verse 1—

David sang to the LORD the words of this song when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.

While the setting of this song is determined for us, in all likelihood David composed it late in life, while reflecting on his past.  Despite his weaknesses, David recognized God’s faithfulness and he saw God’s hand bringing him to old age.

It is a worthwhile practice to look back once in a while and consider all that God has done in our lives.  We live in the moment too often sometimes, and we fail to appreciate the many subtle ways the Lord has guided us to this exact moment in our lives.  In the midst of our busy and harried lives, it’s good to pause and reflect.  David probably wrote Psalm 23 around the same time as he wrote what we call 2 Samuel 22.  Only somebody who has lived life and who has come to appreciate all God has done for them could write as David wrote—

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.  (verse 1)

Young or immature believers don’t have an understanding of God’s provision and care.  The apostle Paul did and he put it this way in Philippians 1:6—

[B]eing confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Only someone who had experienced the gracious provision of God resulting from living a life of faith is able to write such a sentence.  David and Paul were two such believers, though different in every respect, who lived by faith and experienced the loving care of a loving heavenly Father.  Hopefully you have, as well.  If you are born again, then God has brought you to this very moment in your life.  Whether times are good or bad for you is completely irrelevant to that fact.  If you believe God has brought you to this point in your life, do you think for one moment He would let you go?   After all that David had done in his life against the will of God, God never once left David’s presence!   How many of us, I wonder, are as aware of God’s presence in our lives as David was?

1.  Survey of the chapter

This whole chapter is a record of David’s song of praise.  Without studying each verse and stanza, an important thing to remember is that David was able to write such magnificent words of praise only after having endured some hardship.  During his flight from Saul and after his battles with the Philistines, David did not become depressed or frightened; he did not become despondent and blame God for his problems; he was able to focus on his Deliverer.

Life is rarely easy, yet it is easy to allow life’s trials to dictate our mood and our level of faith and confidence in God.  One thing we notice right from the start is that David, as human and as fallible as he was, had an unshakable, if imperfect, faith in God.   Even while he struggled to bring his actions and decisions in line with his faith, his belief in God’s care and provision never really wavered.

David saw God as his Rock, Fortress, Shield, Horn of salvation, High tower, Savior, and the One worthy of our prayer and praise.  Over the course of his lifetime, especially during the early years when his future was so uncertain from the human perspective, David recognized that it was God who was sustaining Him.    The metaphors and comparisons are striking:

  • Rock.  God is our firm foundation; He is not soft or shifting like sand.  God is always dependable in all His ways.
  • Fortress.  There is protection in a relationship with God.  Elsewhere the Psalmist wrote these memorable words—

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.  (Psalm 91:4—)

  • Shield.  Again, we have a battle metaphor.  God is seen as protection surrounding His followers; He absorbs the blows of the enemy; He stops the onslaught from touching those He loves, who are trusting in Him.
  • Horn of salvation.  In Hebrew history, the “horn of salvation” was a sign of power; it came to refer to the saving power of the king.  Here the king describes His God as HIS saving power!
  • High tower.  Like a tower afforded protection and visibility, so God protects us and is never caught off guard because He sees everything that comes at us; no attack of the enemy ever catches our Lord off guard!
  • Savior.  Only God is able to save; He saves us from attacks of the enemy and he saves us throughout all eternity by forgiving our sins and imparting new life to us.
  • The One worthy of prayer and praise.  What a marvelous way to describe God.  He is worthy of our time in prayer because He hears us and He answers our prayers.  Because God desires what is best for us and desires His will to be accomplished in our lives, He deserves our highest praise.  What God gives us He will take away.

2.  God’s deliverance is always needed, verse 18

He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.

Here is a powerful picture of God’s indignation and readiness to vindicate,  not only the psalmist, but all who put their trust in Him.  The Lord is ever watchful, ever ready to intervene and pluck His loved ones from the hand of the enemy.  Plumer observed,

God’s grasp cannot be broken.  None can pluck His children out of His hand.

Notice what David says:  his enemies were too strong for him.  There was no pride here; no arrogant presumption; only complete dependence on God.  The enemy of God’s people is too strong for them, but not too strong for God!  That great trinity of evil:  the world, the flesh, and the Devil all conspire to bring about our downfall, and when we face their attacks on our own, in our own strength, we will fall every time.  Followers of Christ are unbeatable only when we, like David, learn to recognize the real power of the enemy, then trust in His deliverance.  John, the brother of our Lord wrote this:

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.  (1 John 4:4)

3.  God’s deliverance is supernatural, verse 17

He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.

David did not fear the awesome power of God grabbing hold of him.  When we need help the most; when we find ourselves in awful situations, whether they be the result of demonic onslaughts from without or the consequences of bad choices we have made, God never comes to His children in anger!  Though we may find ourselves going down for the last time, the Lord always prevails over the circumstances that confound us.  God alone can deliver us from all adversity, providing a new dimension of life, for nobody is closer to his Lord than the one who has experienced His mighty deliverance!

When we look at David’s life, from the very beginning his help came from above.  When God sent the prophet Samuel to David, he anointed David from head to toe with the holy oil, symbolic of the Holy Spirit.  When God saw the wretchedness of man, He sent help from above in the form of His Son:

For God so loved the world, He sent His only Son… (John 3:16a)

When the infant Church, called into existence by God, built upon Christ, needed empowerment, that power came from above:

They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit.  (Acts 2:3, 4)

Our help always comes from above.  From the moment of our new birth, the Lord comes again and again to us supernaturally, to rescue us, to sustain us, and to uphold us.

4.  God’s deliverance is personal, verse 17

He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.

What an amazing testimony David had!  What an amazing testimony we all have.  God’s help is always personal.  God treats His children as the individuals they are.  There are two things every believer should avoid.  First, we should never think God will “take hold” of others, leaving us behind because we think we are undeserving of His help.  For the sake of the Son of God, God the Father has bound Himself to all who have called upon His grace and mercy.   God reached down to save us and He continues to save us from all the horrible pits we stumble into.

I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.  (Psalm 40:1, 2)

God’s salvation is personal, and so is His continued help in troubled time.  Wait patiently.  Never give up.  Don’t be overwhelmed.  Secondly, we should never assume that God will help us the exact same way He may have helped someone else.  God has a plan for us all; it is a tailor-made plan that suits the individual.  Never limit God to what you have seen or even experienced before.  Our God has a boundless imagination; let Him use it freely to help you!

5.  God’s deliverance is great, verse 17

He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.

The picture David drew is that of a man drowning in the ocean.  Many are the threats and dangers that confront the believer every day.  Every day, every believer struggles with temptation, with fear, with doubt and uncertainty, with anger and jealousy, with despair and anxiety; every day we find ourselves treading water, trying desperately to keep afloat.

For David, the Lord saved him over and over from the hands of the murderous King Saul.  The Lord delivered David from the giant Goliath.  The Lord strengthened David even in waters of affliction of his own making.  The King was drawn from the rapids of guilt when Nathan promised God’s forgiveness of David’s sin.  David may have deserved another fate, but God reached down and pulled him up.

God’s deliverance is great, because the problems of life are great.  Those who have never experienced God’s deliverance have never really asked for it or expected it.  There are Christians who would rather go at it alone; God is a gentleman and He never forces Himself on anybody.  But what a waste of resources!  What arrogance we have; thinking we can deliver ourselves!

6.  God’s deliverance gives Him joy, verse 20

He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.

This is such an amazing verse to consider!  Not only does God deliver us from our troubles, this verse really expresses the ultimate triumph of faith.  The Lord is faithful to deliver us, but He not only delivers us from our trouble, but to a better place!   Instead of “disaster,” the Lord gives “support.”  Instead of “distress,” the Lord gives “a spacious place.”  Instead of hopelessness, the Lord give hope.  This is the God who loves us.  The love of God is expressed by David in a stunning series of verbs:  God “reached down…took hold of me…drew me out of the deep waters…He rescued…He brought me out…He rescued me.” This is the love God, not only for David, but for all believers.  God is the One who acts first.  God is the one whose love is manifested by action, not merely words.   God’s wondrous acts of deliverance are proof of His love.

God delivers because He loves, but also because it gives Him joy!  David wrote that:

[God] delighted in me.

God delights in His children; what a thought!  Yet that delight is not a result of something in us, but something in God; it is part of His character.  There is something in God that gives Him joy when He helps us.  Will you be the cause of His joy by allowing Him to deliver you?  God’s love and generosity are fathomless in regard to those who love Him.

7.  God’s deliverance is satisfying, verse 20

He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.

It’s strange that some people, even those who call themselves Christians, are actually afraid to be drawn out of their sea of sins and/or problems for fear that they should be brought into a narrow place, where they would never again experience happiness or joy.  Did you know that God wants you to be full of joy?

Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.  (John 16:24)

God does not want to steal your joy by stealing the things that make you happy, but God does want your joy and happiness to be based on Him, not on “things.”  But as we grow in grace, we learn that and we appreciate that.  There are many miserable Christians in the world who have accepted the tiniest portion of the legacy God has for them because they are afraid that if they have too much of God, they will lose too much.  How sad!  When God saves us and when He continues to deliver us, He puts us in a place we could never have imagined!  When we have been brought out of the kingdom of darkness and placed in the kingdom of light, there are blessings for us beyond our wildest imaginings.  Even while living and working in a sinful, depressed and depressing world, we who put our trust wholly in God will find that we are immune to the world around us.  That is not some pie-in-the-sky denial of reality, it IS reality for the believer because we have God’s promise.

Conclusion

It’s sad but true:  there are many Christians who could never write what David wrote because, by their own choice, they have never experienced the supernatural deliverance God so willingly provides.  To them, the world must seem like a cold, threatening, evil place, full of sadness, disappointments, and unfulfilled dreams.  I would encourage you, if you are like that, to at least open your mind to the reality of what God is offering.  Take full advantage of God’s help; reach out in faith believing, and you will experience a side of God that will forever change, not only the way you view God, but also the way you view the world in which you live.  When you walk in the light of His deliverance, the worst the world can offer is but a  minor inconvenience in comparison to greatness of His work in you.

(c)  2009 WitzEnd

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