Friday, May 2, 2008

The Deliverer

The Apostle Peter tells us, “If God…spared not the old world, but saved Noah…bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes…making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; and delivered just Lot…[then] the Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations” (2 Peter 2:4-9).

Despite the severity of these examples, God is sending a clear message of comfort to his people, as if to say: “I have just given you two of the greatest examples of my compassion. If, in the midst of a world-engulfing flood, I can deliver one righteous man and his family out of the havoc…then can I not deliver you also? Can I not provide a miraculous way of escape?

“If I can send down fire-and-brimstone judgment that consumes entire cities at a time, yet I manage to send angels into the chaos to deliver Lot and his daughters…then can I not also manage to send angels to deliver you out of your trials?”

The lesson here for the righteous is this: God will do whatever it takes to deliver his people out of fiery trials and temptations. Think about it: It took the opening of the Red Sea to deliver Israel out of the clutches of its enemy. It took water out of a rock to save those same Israelites from their wilderness trial. It took miracle bread, angels’ food literally sent from heaven, to spare them from hunger. And it took an ark to save Noah from the flood, and “angel escorts” to deliver Lot from fiery destruction. The clear point is that God knows how to deliver his people, and he will go to any extreme to accomplish it, no matter what their circumstance.

Peter’s phrase “God knoweth how to deliver” means simply, “He has already made plans.” The wonderful truth is that God already has plans for our deliverance even before we cry out to him. And he doesn’t sit on those plans; he only awaits our cry for help. We may be entangled in the struggle of a lifetime, wondering how God will deliver us, yet he is ready all at times to put his plan into action.

We see this illustrated in Jeremiah 29, when Israel was in captivity to Babylon. Here was perhaps the greatest trial God’s people had ever experienced, yet the Lord promised them: “After seventy years, I will visit you and perform my Word to you.”

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11). The last phrase literally means “to give you what you long for.” God wants us to keep praying so we’ll be ready for his deliverance.