God Is Rescuer
Let’s be honest. Sometimes we just need to be rescued. From ourselves, from bad choices, from circumstances, from attacks. I can’t fix all my problems or make it all better. Sometimes I’m a mess; life is a mess; situations are a mess. So what can we do about that?
We can remember who our God is.
God is the Rescuer.
Wait. Did you just hear that? Are you listening deep down inside your inner heart-of-hearts, where I know sometimes you feel like you have to hold it all together… by yourself? Did you just hear who your God is?
God is Rescuer.
Let that seep down deep inside your bones.
This truth matters. It really matters when we have something big and scary chasing after us. And it really matters when we feel like if we slow down, pausing the rat race for just a moment, all the “stuff” will finally catch up to us.
David knew all about that feeling. He was being chased by a half-crazed monarch. Several times he only barely dodged the bullet, until finally his friend Jonathan help him make a real run for it. But he had to stay one step ahead of his ruthless pursuer.
Anyone that’s ever felt like something was desperately breathing down their neck can relate: Financial woes, relationship friction, addiction, depression… These ugly enemies seem to pursue our peace and hurtle threats to shake our hope.
It happened to David.
So what did he do about it?
David hid in the safety of God’s protection and waited for God’s direction.
He put His life in God’s hands.
So what do we do?
We hide in the safety of God’s protection & wait for His direction.
We put our lives in God’s hands.
God showed David a path of escape, a path of healing, of obedience, and redemption.
“David left Gath and escaped to the cave… All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their leader. About 400 men were with him.” (1 Samuel 22:1-2)
God even used his escape to rally others who needed rescuing too. David became the leader of a rag-tag group of hurting people who needed a second chance.
Together, they waited for God’s next direction. (1 Sam 22:3).
But waiting on God doesn’t mean we’re doing nothing. It means we’re doing nothing but what God tells us to.
David heard of an attack by the Philistines on the nearby town of Keilah so he asked God what He wanted him to do. The Lord answered him, ‘Go down to Keilah, for I am going to give the Philistines into your hands.” (1 Sam 23:4)
So while David waited to be rescued, he did some rescuing himself.
Meanwhile, Saul (angry as ever) continued pursuing David, hot and heavy. He’d heard that David had gone to protect Keilah and he stormed over there to catch him.
“God has handed him over to me!” Saul thought (1 Sam 23:7). In his jealousy and anger his thinking had become so twisted that he believed God was there to serve his purposes, instead of him being there to serve God’s. Dear Father! Please rescue us from our own dangerous delusions!
David asked the Lord what he should do. And the Word of the Lord came to him and rescued him, again. He escaped.
Over the years God fought for David. And before that God had a history of fighting for His people. God rescued them over and over and over again through the years of the judges and then the kings. Would the number of God’s great rescues reach it’s final limit? Would God’s rescuing power ever run out?
God will rescue us over and over too.
That is who He is.
He is Rescuer.
But David did not mistake God’s beautiful rescues as a license to do whatever he wanted. He took God’s many rescues as a reminder to trust God with EVERYTHING. But that commitment was tested.
One day Saul went to “relieve himself” inside the very cave where David and his men were hiding. David’s men urged, “Kill him now! God has given us this chance.” And God even spoke, “I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish.”
But David chose to honor the office of king, to uphold the authority of Judge and value the radical grace of the Rescuer. He chose not take this matter into his own hands. He took his hands off.
“May the Lord judge between you and me. And may the Lord avenge the wrongs you have done to me.” (1 Sam 24:12) David told Saul. “May He vindicate me by delivering me from your hand.” (1 Sam 24:15).
And because David trusted God to be in charge, not manipulating circumstances for his own benefit, He got to see God as Rescuer.
Often we don’t get to see God as Rescuer because we forget to wait on His rescue.
Instead, we stumble our way through our own self-rescue attempts, often leaving us fumbling, falling, or failing.
At the end of the book of 1 Samuel David and his men had to rush back to save their families from a kidnapping band of Amalekites. The men were bitter in spirit and David was heart-broken.
“But David found strength in the Lord his God.” (1 Sam 30:6) And again he inquired of the Lord. God answered, “Yes, David, go after them. I will rescue your families.”
So they took off to follow the Amalekites. Along the way they happened upon an Egyptian servant abandoned and starving in a field. Immediately they rescued him, reviving his strength with food and water. As he recovered, he shared his story. He was a servant of the Amalekites who had been left for dead when he became sick 3 days ago. This forgotten-then-found man gave David directions to find the kidnappers. David and his men soon overtook the enemy and recovered everything taken from them.
This last story of rescue in 1 Samuel highlights 3 powerful ways God rescues (yes – He really RESCUES!) His people.
- With Us: God intersected the fate of the Egyptian servant to find rescue himself through David and then to participate in the rescue of David’s abducted families. God uses the people in our lives to partner in His rescue plans.
- From Us: The directions of the servant led David right to where he needed to go. He was rescued from scrambling and fumbling, guessing and grasping. God’s Word of direction rescues us from our own limitations.
- Through Us: David and His men got to be the hand of God sent to rescue their families from the Amalekites. God uses us to rescue others.
So when you feel like you are in a heap of mess and there is no way out, cry out to God for rescue. Let your deepest heart cries ring in His ears. He is listening. And rescues are His specialty. God will never fail to provide a path to healing.
So when life seems to breathe down your neck, threatening to shatter your peace and scatter your hope, remind yourself Whom your God is.
God Is Rescuer.
That is a truth you can trust.
May you trust God in your darkest moments, deepest miseries, and most dangerous mistakes. May you always remember to wait for God to be the Rescuer, and may you see His great rescue plans worked out in your life, over and over again. In Jesus’ name, Amen.