Deliver Me!

Ever had someone let you down? I did, just today. Over the last two weeks, I have spent hours upon hours dealing with a certain office supply store that shall remain unnamed. I planned to pick up a printer for my new office. No big deal, right?

We Fail

Unfortunately, the store did not have the printer in stock that I preferred. So I ordered it online with the guarantee that it would be delivered to my office at church the next day (Thursday). Thursday came and went- no printer. Friday came and went- no printer. I waited over the weekend, then gave my local friendly office supply store a call. They explained they were not able to deliver my printer because no one was available for pickup. They had returned the printer to a warehouse and refunded my order (because I didn’t want a printer, of course).

After reassuring customer service that my office was located at a church, and we receive deliveries multiple times a week without any problems, I re-ordered the printer, once again with the guarantee of next-day delivery. It did not come Tuesday. It did not come Wednesday. Finally, on Thursday, it arrived- five minutes before a funeral service started at our church. I quickly showed the delivery guy where to drop off the printer and then hurried back to join the pastor and family members for prayer before the funeral. Impeccable timing.

But wait- there’s more! Today I took out my  new printer from the box, naïvely expecting a quick setup and a happy ending. But when I plugged in the printer, I received an error message. After another phone call to tech support, I was informed I should drop my new printer off at a repair shop 45 minutes away or have a refurbished printer delivered to my office as replacement for my new one (with 1-day delivery, of course). I had had enough of these shenanigans. I returned the defunct printer to the office supply store and asked for a refund. All I can say is, that wasn’t easy.

How many of us could share the same sob stories of times when life throws us a lemon? It’s probably a good practice to not place too much hope in your local office supply store. You probably shouldn’t bank on receiving life-saving products in 1-day delivery, because people in this world will fail you. They can’t always deliver. None of us can. But the good news is, God can.

God Delivers

God promises to deliver those who turn to him because he is a God of steadfast love (Ps. 6:4b; 86:13; 94:18). I wasn’t feeling a lot of love waiting in the return line today. That’s because I was dealing with broken, needy people like myself. But we can confidently declare that God will deliver us (Ps. 13:5; 145:13c-14) because we know God loves us (Ps. 21:7b; 31:10b; 52:1,8b). If you tend to doubt that God loves you, I encourage you to click on the verses I have listed for you. Read through each one. Meditate on them. God’s love is for us all is written about over and over again in Scripture, if only we would take time to look!

This is so much the case that the act of God saving his people is equated with God loving his people. They are, in fact, two sides of the same coin—love in word and love in deed. God loves you, so God will deliver you if you turn to him.

God will send from heaven and save me;
He will put to shame him who tramples on me. Selah
God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!
~Ps. 57:3c; cf. vs. 10; 69:13

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Photo by Neil Thomas on Unsplash

Unfortunately, though, you may not think about God’s love too much until you need deliverance. Maybe you need a new printer today, like me. Life throws us lemons in a variety of ways; sometimes our troubles are insignificant, and sometimes they are very serious. You may need restored health. You may need to mend a broken relationship. You may need a large financial debt forgiven.

There is no easy button in life. Don’t count on your own resources, or on other broken people, to do for you what only God can do. At our core, we are all sinners in need of a Savior. That means, at the very least, we all need to cry out to God today for deliverance from our sin. No matter who you are, we all need deliverance. And only Jesus can deliver us from ourselves and our eternally damning sinfulness. What’s more, only Jesus loves us enough and is strong enough to deliver us from our temporary trouble life. Have you trusted in Jesus to save you eternally from sin? Are you trusting him now to save you from your temporary troubles?

After receiving a refund for my troublesome printer, I went back to my desk in my office. In 45 minutes I picked out and purchased a different printer on Amazon. It had more ink, better reviews, and cost me $40 less than the printer I had just returned to the store. Sometimes, there really is a better way. And make no mistake- trusting Jesus to deliver you from your eternal and temporary troubles is always the better way. Turn to the One who loves you most.

C.P.

More than a Cosmic Accident

Are you a cosmic accident? Is your purpose nothing more than to exist for a few passing moments on this earth, only to fade away with the mass of humanity? If so, why in the world does this life even matter? If God is not in the picture, these questions leave us hopeless. The Christian worldview gives us so much more to live for. It says that God created you for a higher purpose. You are not an accident. You are here for a reason. And you can know that reason because God has communicated it to you. Your Creator is speaking to you in his Word and revealing himself in creation.

Last time we learned that God reveals himself through the creation of the heavens. But we can also learn about God by considering his creation of the earth. The earth calls us to consider God’s kingship and his ability to deliver us.

The Earth Establishes God’s Kingship

Because God created the earth, he both owns and rules as king over all it contains (Ps. 24:1-2; 50:10-11; 74:12). Unlike us, and unlike the ancient pagan gods, he does not need the earth to sustain Himself (Ps. 50:12-13). The survival of every king in the history of the world depended on their ability to rule and protect their kingdom. Even a king has his limits. But not so with God—he does not need us or any other part of his created order. And yet, even though God is totally self-sustaining, he is the God of salvation. He chooses to stoop down and deliver us.

The Earth Exhibits God’s Deliverance

Earlier this year in the month of May the London art gallery tried to feature an exhibit called “Majestic Splendor” by Lee Bul. Notice I said, “tried.” The artwork consisted of rotting fish decorated with sequins and beads, sealed in small plastic bags (for obvious reasons). Apparently the compounds these fish emit can easily combust, and that is just what happened. The fish combusted, causing a minor fire in the London art gallery. The gallery canceled the exhibit.

It seems like these days people will put just about anything on display. And while some people may be fascinated with zany exhibits in the London art gallery, God is concerned with putting his saving character on display. The earth is his display case. Notice Psalm 74:12,

“Yet God my King is from of old,
working salvation in the midst of the earth.”

God wants to display your life on earth as an example of his saving character. As Creator and King over the earth, his art exhibit of your life takes the “best in show.”

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Because God delivers us, we can have confidence no matter what kinds of physical threats surround us. He controls it all.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.”
~Psalm 46:1-3 (cf. 96:6-9)

When God delivers Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land, the sea, mountains, and the Jordan are all asked why they “flee…turn back…and skip…like rams” and “lambs.”

The earth “tremble[s]…at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob, who turns the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a spring of water.”
~Psalm 114:3-8

In these verses, the earth visibly responds to the presence of God as if in fear. We can trust God’s control and ability to save in spite of our smallness in his creation, because everything is small compared to God. Everything trembles before the Creator King. 

Consider Jesus

For just a moment, journey out of the Psalms with me to the gospels. Think of the disciples who were with Jesus in a small fishing boat on the Sea of Galilee. In the midst of a life-threatening storm they wake Jesus with the cry,

“‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, ‘Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?’ And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’”
~Mark 4:38-41

It was not some cosmic accident that caused those disciples to get caught in the storm. And the storms in your life are not a cosmic accident, either. This same Jesus is tenderly calling to you today, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” He is the King and Creator of the earth, and he can calm the storm in your life. Perhaps you have ignored Jesus for a long time. Or perhaps you have been running to him daily. No matter what your circumstances, there is comfort and conviction in the fact that the Creator King is purposefully working in the lives of every person on this planet. We each must face this question: “Will I turn to him? Will I trust him?” The answer to that question will make all the difference in the world.

C.P.