Consider the great testimony of King David: “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; the God of my rock; in him will I trust” (2 Samuel 22:2-3, my italics). He said of the godly, “He shall not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord” (Psalm 112:7).
The Bible makes clear that, sadly, only a small percentage of God’s people in any age have ever truly trusted him as their deliverer. As you look around at believers today, how many people do you see operating with such peaceful trust?
God delivered Israel time after time in their journey through the horrible wilderness. Yet in spite of all the great deliverances they had experienced, Israel never had a settled confidence in the Lord. Moses admonished them, “Thou hast seen how that the Lord thy God bare thee, as a man doth bear his son, in all the way that ye went, until ye came into this place” (Deuteronomy 1:31). He was reminding Israel, “God has protected you through plagues, brought you through the desert furnace, opened the sea for you to walk through. He led you by fire and a pillar of smoke and gave you food from the sky and water from a rock. Right up to this moment, God has never once failed you. Why won’t you trust him to deliver you? How many miracles must he perform?”
You may be tempted to judge those Israelites. Yet, in reality, many of us react the same way when we face a crisis. We wonder why God allowed it and how we’ll ever survive. When this happens our sin is worse than Israel’s because we’ve had centuries of testimonies about God’s faithfulness. Moses could stand before the church today and say, “Yet in this thing ye did not believe the Lord your God, who went in the way before you” (1:32-33).
God does not take lightly our unwillingness to trust him as our deliverer. You may object, “God knows that I’m weak. He understands why I complain at times.” Yet God had a specific response to those who disbelieved him: “The Lord heard the voice of your words, and was wroth...saying, Surely there shall not one of these men of this evil generation see that good land... save Caleb...(and) Joshua” (Deuteronomy 1:34-36, 38, my italics).
Only Joshua and Caleb were willing to cross into the Promised Land, believing the Lord would give them victory. God advised the rest of the people, “Go not up, neither fight; for I am not among you; lest ye be smitten before your enemies” (1:42). In short: “If you won’t trust me, you might as well not even try to fight your enemy. You’ll be overwhelmed by them.”
This one verse explains why so many Christians today go from one defeat to another. God has shown them deliverance after deliverance. But the enemy has gotten the upper hand in their lives. How? They still don’t truly trust God. As a result, the devil is able to toss them about mentally and emotionally because their heart isn’t fixed on their deliverer’s faithfulness.
Maybe this describes you. Perhaps you lie awake at night fretting over the worries of life. Like the Israelites, you tell yourself, “I have a right to be discouraged. The future looks so hopeless!” But such unbelief opens the door for the enemy to gain a stronghold. “So it came to pass when all the men of war were consumed and dead from among the people” (2:16).
You may think, “What kind of God are you talking about? That’s Old Testament law. God isn’t hard on doubters who are under grace.” Not so. In the New Testament, the author of Hebrews gives us this warning: “To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as...in the wilderness.... I was grieved with that generation.... Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God” (Hebrews 3:7-8, 10, 12, my italics).
The Bible is very clear to New Covenant believers, saying, “Unbelief is a departure from God.” Here is the key verse from the same passage: “They could not enter in because of unbelief. Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it” (Hebrew 3:19, 4:1). When you ignore God as your deliverer, you only dig yourself deeper into problems.
Do you wonder how some are able to have joy in the midst of great trials?
Some believers never seem troubled. They never complain. Instead, they’re happy and at rest, even when they’re enduring great suffering. So, are they naive? Are they simply good natured or optimistic? Not at all. They have peace because in their hearts they are worshiping God. They have committed all to the Father and wholly trust in him.
David tells us, “In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried to my God.... He delivered me, because he delighted in me” (2 Samuel 22:7, 20). As I read David’s words here, they hit me hard. The meaning here is, “God takes great delight in rescuing me. It gives him great pleasure when I trust him to pull me out of the mire.”
You may believe that if you just pray so many hours a day, or read so many pages of Scripture, God will be pleased with you. Those standards aren’t even scriptural. If you’ve given your heart to Jesus, he already delights in you. “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent” (John 6:29). Indeed, there is a blessing of happiness for all who cast their cares upon the Lord: “Whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he” (Proverbs 16:20). This kind of happiness comes only from a settled knowledge that your trust sets into motion all of God’s delivering power.
Some Christians have yet to find deliverance from the one sin that easily besets them. “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). What keeps coming up for you year after year? You love God, but something stands in the way of your growth and maturity in the Lord. Is it an uncontrollable temper? Do you turn in rage on your spouse or children?
I tell you, it’s not just your flesh that drives you to rail uncontrollably. It is an urge, an overwhelming flood, that comes from the pits of hell: “Wrath is fierce, and anger is a flood” (Proverbs 27:4, NAS). You may do well for a month or two. Your family may forgive you and think everything’s okay. Then suddenly you’re overcome again.
Or, maybe your struggle isn’t with anger but with jealousy. Night and day you’re plagued by envy of others. Jealousy in the life of a believer is one of the most deceptive and destructive tools of the enemy. God calls jealousy a “rage” (Proverbs 6:34, NAS). This suggests a “disease of madness,” an uncontrollable inner storm. Jealousy’s raging flame kills relationships. Contrary to what we may think, jealousy isn’t “love on the defense” or “true love offended.” Scripture says the opposite, that love “is not jealous” (1 Corinthians 13:4, NAS).
What is jealousy, then? It is the opposite of trust. Jealousy does the work of hell, not heaven. “Where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work” (James 3:16). “Envy [is] the rottenness of the bones” (Proverbs 14:30). Jealousy is a hidden rot of passion in the depth of our being. It leads us to accuse others of what we know we are capable of ourselves. Jealousy reveals an attitude of, “I don’t trust myself; therefore, I don’t trust others either.”
If jealousy isn’t dealt with, it leads to all kinds of demonic activity. Paul says those who were turned over to reprobate minds were “full of envy” (Romans 1:29). Indeed, jealousy gives birth to the very thing it fears: fornication, adultery, lust.
We simply cannot be delivered of jealousy unless we recognize it for the deadly sin it is. We have to be willing to confess, “Yes, I’m jealous of so-and-so.” At the same time, we have to believe, “My God is a deliverer. He has all power to free me and keep me from all jealousy.”
How do we begin the process of being freed from anger or jealousy? The first step is to acknowledge that our trust is not in other people. Instead, we are to trust Christ in one another; therefore, our well-being is not dependent on our spouse. It is in Jesus. Christ is saying to us, “I am responsible for the keeping of your spouse. If I can’t keep him or her, what chance do you have? Commit him or her to me.”
There is one dominant fear today that God’s people must be delivered from: financial fear.
If “fear hath torment,” then this is one of the most tormenting fears at work in the world today. We all face so many “what ifs”: “What if I lose my job? My home? What if I can’t pay the bills? Where will we live and what will we eat? How will my children be okay?”
Jesus said, “Take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?...for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:31-33).
Consider the scenario I began with: the children of Israel in the wilderness. About one million men – along with two million women, children and elderly – were left in a dry desert.
There wasn’t a supermarket within a hundred miles. Babies were hungry, children were crying, grandparents were growing weaker. There was nothing but sun, sand and wind all around them with no means of sustenance.
So, was Moses crazy when he led them into such a wilderness? That’s what the people accused him of. And it had to be what Egypt’s Pharaoh was thinking. But did God fail Israel in the wilderness? No, he delivered them supernaturally. He brought miraculous angel food, miraculous water from a rock, miraculous guidance, miraculous protection.
Now I ask you: How will God feed you if the bottom falls out? Remember, our God isn’t limited by what happens on Wall Street or in India or China. He looks only on our hearts and asks, “Do you believe I’m your deliverer? Will you trust me to free you and see you through?”
It doesn’t matter if the whole economy caves in. God promises, “You’re not going to beg for bread.” If he has to cause a potato truck to break down in front of your house, he will provide for you. He did it for ancient Israel, miraculously, and he will surely do it for his people today.
Is there something you need to be delivered from? Then pray this prayer: “Lord, I commit myself to you as my sole deliverer. I know all provision comes from you. No matter what vessel it may come through, you are my only source. I want to stand on this belief, not just as a doctrine but with all my heart.”
This is your year for deliverance – to put all of your future into God’s hands. Trust him to hear your prayer and to supply you with all you need in your hard time. He will deliver you!