Since the fall of mankind, we have all needed deliverance. Each person’s individual smallness in a vast universe demands something or someone bigger to step in and take the reins. We need protection from natural disasters, human evil, and the spiritual enemy who seeks to steal, kill, and destroy. And you know what? God promises us that deliverance in the Bible.
When Jesus asked his Father to “deliver us from evil," he highlighted the need for deliverance. The Greek word there has two meanings: “rescue” and “God drawing us to himself.”
The concept of being rescued needs little explanation. There is evil in the world that God can keep us safe from, so we ask that of him. This encompasses deliverance from the physical threats of this world as well as deliverance through Christ from spiritual threats. The same Greek word in Christ’s prayer is employed in Paul’s declaration: “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:13–14).
The other meaning of rhoumai, the Greek word for deliverance, is not used as commonly in Scripture, but it expresses a remarkable truth. Our deliverance, whether physical or not, is directly tied to God drawing us to himself. When Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica, he warned them about what would soon happen to them, paralleling Christ’s warnings of their tribulation. But he also wrote that before it happened, there would be deliverance for followers of Christ because God would draw them to himself and thus take them out of harm’s way (1 Thess. 1:10).
Though the vast majority of us have never faced the persecution the first-century church did, I can’t help but wonder how many of our personal tragedies, failures, and hardships could be avoided if we simply drew closer to God. I know I could have avoided a few!
Peter noted that “the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation” (2 Peter 2:9). We need not fear temptation if we’re walking closely with the One called Jehovah Mephalti—the Lord my Deliverer. It is common for us to wait until we are in dire need of rescue to cry out to God, but rescue is already here if we will just stay close to Christ. When we do so, we hear more clearly his direction for each step along the way and can steer clear of unnecessary problems we are prone to create in our shortsightedness.
Christians are not supposed to live in bondage. Paul wrote, “It was for freedom that Christ set us free” (Gal. 5:1). If you have been convinced that freedom is unattainable, then you have bought into a lie. When you give yourself willingly as a servant of God, he does not want you under the rule of anyone or anything else. And though we offer ourselves as servants, he raises us up as his sons and daughters, making us heirs to his kingdom. We are meant to be free.
Always remember this profound truth: God delivers out of his goodness, not because of our abilities or merits. Paul wrote, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:8–9).
Deliverance is often beyond our capabilities. If we think we are the sole source of deliverance, then we’re doomed to fail. We have to humble ourselves and say, “Deliver us from evil,” as Jesus instructed us to pray, because deliverance is usually beyond our grasp. Our hope lies in the fact that it is never beyond God’s. In our weakness, he is strong.
As you walk confidently in the promise of deliverance, remember your position as a child of God. Trust him in every situation for deliverance, whether it comes immediately, incrementally, or eternally. And most importantly, always know that our deliverance lies in staying close to the One who is our deliverer.
Randy Robison talks about The Age of Promise this Tuesday on LIFE Today. Follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. This is an excerpt from The Age of Promise. Copyright ©2018 by James Randall Robison. Published by Thomas Nelson, a division of Harper Collins. Used by permission.