Deliverance and Escape

Deliver me in thy righteousness, and cause ME to escape: incline thine ear unto me, and save me.

Psalm 71:2.

Two modes of preservation are highlighted in our text: deliverance and escape, both being types of salvation.  God is involved in all, but to different degrees.  ‘In His righteousness,’ that is, usually without reference to my rightlessness or any significant input from me, God can deliver me.  At other times, however, He merely opens the door and lets me use my legs to complete the salvation process.  That is, He causes ‘ME’ to consciously get myself out of the obvious danger.  That is escape.  Either way, God has ‘saved’ me.

Pastor Paul Enenche told of his member who was abducted in Abuja by ritualists.  She had converted from Islam only two weeks before.  In the den of the ritualists, she prayed a simple prayer to the Jesus she had come to know, if He was there.  Next thing, she found herself on the streets of Abuja, walking home.  That is deliverance.

Apostle Johnson Suleman told of a member who had also been abducted in Benin City by ritualists.  In that strange place of no particular address, she also prayed her simple prayer.  Next thing, she found herself in her room, the door padlocked outside as she had done when she left the house, with the keys in her handbag.  That is deliverance.

Rev Samson Ajetomobi told of a brother who had been similarly abducted.  He called on God to save him but felt rebuked that he was wasting the powers he had.  He got up and started to walk out of the room, into the open yard, and towards the iron gate.  Another abducted woman followed him, emboldened by his action to escape.  The guard saw her out in the yard and shot her dead.  The brother froze in fear at the gun shots, but he was unseen.  The voice of God urged him on.  He continued his steps towards the metal gate, which opened to him.  The noisy iron clangour caught attention.  “Who’s there!” the guard bellowed, seeing no one.  The brother went out of that compound, out into the woods, out to a road, then found his way to the retreat in the city at which the Reverend was preaching.  There, he told his story to the outburst of praise.  He escaped.

Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped (Psalm 124:7).

A snare is a small animal trap, like a wire noose, to catch the leg or head of the animal.  When that wire is broken, any wise animal should use its legs or wings to flee that scene, or foolishly linger still until the trapper comes for it with a different weapon.  When God breaks a snare, He expects you to escape with your legs. To remain there expecting the wonders of deliverance, will be stupid suicide.  Many times, even when God had provided us windows of escape from lingering dangers, we have ignored them to our peril because we had been expecting a more dramatic ‘divine’ deliverance, something more fitting and entertaining as ‘testimony to our audiences.

When Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den, God delivered him.  According to the king, the Lord delivered Daniel from the power of the lions” (Daniel 6:27).  Daniel could have done nothing by himself to escape that danger.  His salvation from that den of lions depended entirely on God.  When you are faced with an enemy too strong for you, you need deliverance.

He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them that hated me: for they were too strong for me (2 Samuel 22:18).

When the Jews at Damascus were out to kill Saul the new convert, God gave the disciples in that city wisdom, which you might call common sense.  They got a big basket and ferried Saul across the city wall at night (Acts 9:24-25).  That was escape.  There was no point expecting deliverance by a chariot of fire when God had made “a way to escape” (1 Corinthians 10:13).  The action of the disciples meant that they had people on the other side of the city walls, they also had people watching the gates where the wicked Jews were stationed to kill.  They did not need to pray about what size of basket was best for the project, what time of night was best for the escape, what section of the city wall was safest for the operation.  They had smart heads and smart legs inspired by God for the escape.

Sometimes, salvation might come by deliverance; sometimes, by escape; at other times, by a combination of both.  For example, God delivered Peter from Herod’s prison when his angelic assistance caused the iron gates to open to them like an automatic door.  Beyond the gates, when they had got into the street that night, the angel disappeared.  It was up to Peter to complete the process by escaping with his legs and his sense.  He did (Acts 12:1-17).

In career, business, relationships, or dangers of any kind, it is foolish to seek deliverance where God has opened a door of escape.  It is unwise to judge as carnal the salvation that God grants through escape with legs enabled by uncommon grace.

In this season, may God deliver you where He would, and cause YOU to escape where you should. Amen.  Even when God opens a Red Sea, He does not ferry His people across.  They use their legs to get to the other side.  When the rivers open unto you in this season, may your legs receive strength to cross to the other side. Amen.

From The Preacher’s diary,

December 8, 2021.

 

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