Deliverance comes in a variety of ways. It is most always associated with difficulty and usually comes with a price. Often, it comes unexpectedly and by a seeming act of what may be considered “divine intervention”.
As I read again through the story of the nation of Israel going through the Red Sea in Exodus- all several million of them- I was awed by the significance of their liberation.
After countless generations had endured the cruel bondage under Egypt’s tyrannical ruler, they were finally released. Although God could have sent them on their merry way, down “easy street”, they faced an obstacle of momentous proportions instead: the Egyptian Army on one side, the sprawling Red Sea on the other.
But God had His plan. Down blew the wind, the millions of tons of water blowing back into what appeared to be massive walls of water. On both sides stood the piled water with a wide DRY path in between. Yes, it was dry, not sticky mud that would have made it impossible to get all those men, women, children and animals through safely. In hard pursuit of the Israelites was the Egyptian army- Pharaoh, and 600 or so of Egypt’s finest charioteers; capable warriors ready to kill. Hotly and with vengeance in their hearts they came after them, realizing that they just lost their most prized slaves.
With the last Israelite was safely on the shore, they turned to see their dreaded enemy closing in. Just when they thought they had escaped their wicked taskmasters, they were about to be overtaken again. But God, in His perfect wisdom, unleashed the walls of water He had been holding back with the might of His power. Down on the heads of all the Egyptians it went, crashing around and burying them all in a watery grave.
My own personal deliverances have not looked like the split waters of the Red Sea, but they have been many, miraculous and come at moments I was sure that peril would engulf me. Most precious is the deliverance of my soul that came at the price of a life. This, not only has the greatest value but is also seemingly the most unwarranted. My soul was purchased with the blood of Jesus, while I stood in direct rebellion to Him.
Two other times in life, I’ve been rescued from things that totally gripped me, shackled me and had left me feeling defeated and worthless. No power inside or outside me was great enough to undo these chains. The freedom was wrought slowly, painfully, through hardships, heartbreaks and humility. I had to be broken, and broken I was.
But God had a plan to lift me out of the despair and set me safely on the other shore. If I had attributed the success to self or a program or positive thinking, I would have missed the miracles God did – the times the enemy was defeated though I never even saw it; the times the water was held firmly back and I was safe. If I thought I had rescued myself, I would have sought after the glory that only God deserved.
There are many other problems that can keep us locked prisoner: disease, financial ruin, loss of friends or family, grief over a rebellious child, addictions. After they are each overcome, we can look back and see God’s hand of deliverance. Recognizing WHO freed us, we are emptied of self-reliance, self-aggrandizement, self-love and ultimately, self-worship. It becomes clear that without divine intervention, the Enemy would have certainly overtaken us.
Deliverance looks different in each of our lives. I know beyond a doubt that I have many more circumstances to be set free from before my life comes to an end. It will most likely not come easily and is sure to come with a price. But in the end, the outcome will be true satisfying freedom; liberation from oppression that I was never meant to bear all on my own.