The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2
To “deliver” something means in English to achieve or produce something that has been promised. Postal services deliver packages. Doctors deliver babies. Newpapers deliver the news or gossip of the day. In Hebrew, the word deliverer is even sweeter. It means to “calve” (to help a baby cow be born), to “carry away safe,” or “cause to escape.” This character trait of God is becoming more precious to me. He is a deliverer.
One of my first realizations seven years ago when I began my exodus from panic attacks and anxiety was that something was happening TO ME, I was not accomplishing my deliverance myself other than simply yielding to God and sitting at the feet of Yeshua to teach me.
He required my complete surrender. I thought I had done that already.
He said I had not.
What did I keep as mine? My secret hopes. My thoughts. My intelligence. My reputation. My renown. My money. My home. My personality. My gifts. My books. My relationships. My friendships. All were legally mine to keep. And that meant all were legally mine to give. Most people don’t give themselves completely to Yeshua, even people who say that want to. It’s too scary and too counter-cultural. But Yeshua taught, “Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it” (Luke 17:33).
When I died to myself, I came alive again in Yeshua and I began an exodus from my self-centered life to a God-centered life. Everything from my dreams, to my hopes, to my job, to my identity, to my house, to my country of residence changed. People thought I was losing it. Well, I guess I kinda was. I lost all ambition except for His fame in the earth. People don’t like that because they want you to work on their projects. But really God’s project is simple. It is us talking about Him to others, being his hands of healing and mercy, serving others in love, spreading the Word of God like seed in heart soil of others. We do what Yeshua said to do. We disciple and baptize the nations. Matthew 28:19-20
And baptism is meant to be deliverance in Water and the Spirit. Do people baptize themselves? No. You know why? It is the concept of deliverance. You cannot deliver yourself out of or into Spiritual things. If anyone asks what has happened to me the last seven years I might answer, “I’ve been delivered.” Just like a baby cannot deliver themselves, being “born again” as discussed in Yeshua’s conversation with Nichodemus (John 3:5), means we cannot deliver ourselves. Rather, we are born. Brought out. Delivered by someone else into security. Brought from someplace into another place. This is our exodus. If we turn to the Yeshua and accept His invitation out of slavery to sin and into a restful land of promise, we start to walk His way in obedience. As we keep obeying, we will find ourselves entering a process of deliverance and transformation. For some this process is almost instant. That was not my story.
I’m realizing today how much the Red Sea was like a birth canal of deliverance. How slowly I move through the canal of the miraculous into a life of Spirit-led trust.
Red sea crossings and testings and water in the desert waited ahead and I didn’t even know all that He would ask of us. If you know you know. These things are precious and beautiful. And somehow we have enough.
The journey’s details are different for everyone, I imagine, but the same in at least this way. The death to self costs everything, and not everyone is wiling to pay it, and it is both beautifully traumatic and transforming. You gain more than what you give up, along with persecutions (Mark 10:29-31). And we who have gone in through this gate look back on the journey and just cry with thankfulness. We never could have gained this kind of life and freedom on our own. Truly He is our deliverer. His way is narrow but really, really, really good. There’s no room for pride when you’re this grateful. We know the depth of our sin, and the depth of His grace and love that washes everything fresh and makes all things new.
It was something they could not do for themselves. And I’m realizing how miraculous it is when even one person leaves “Egypt” for the promised land. Yeshua talked in parables and riddles. But when we start down that road, doors painted red behind us, we leave our old life forever. Some will turn back but they can never go back the same way. And those who endure will inherit the promise.
Like I always used to tell my students I was advising:
This is not about how smart you are. This is not about how good you are. It’s not about your skills. When you come under my advising, I take it on as my responsibility to make sure you finish well as far as it depends on me. All I require from you is your persistence, endurance, and trust.
Your advancement into Kingdom living is not about how smart you are. It is not about how good you are. It’s not about your skills. When you come under the ox-yoke of Yeshua’s Way (teachings and lifestyle), pulling His ox-cart, not yours anymore, it becomes His responsibility to advise you and make sure you succeed as far as it depends on Him. All He requires from you is your persistence, endurance, and trust.
He delivers us. We do not deliver ourselves.