Study 10 HOW GOD DELIVERS HIS PEOPLE
TEN STUDIES IN PSALM 119
by Francis Dixon
Key-verse: “May my supplication come before you; deliver me according to your promise.” (Psalm 119:170)
Our key-verse gives us a picture of King David praying to the Lord, earnestly requesting deliverance. What does this mean, “deliver me according to your promise”? It means, according to the promises God has given in His Word and according to the examples that are recorded of His mighty deliverances. No less than ten times in this psalm David uses this expression when praying to the Lord – see verses 28, 41, 58, 65, 76, 107, 116, 154, 169, 170. Let’s study some of the ways in which we need God’s deliverance, find a scriptural illustration of God delivering in that way; and then we shall look for a promise from the scriptures applicable to that special deliverance.
1. We need deliverance from the guilt and penalty of sin: the illustration of this is in Luke 18:9-14, and the promise is in Acts 13:38-39.
Luke’s passage records our Lord’s parable of two men, a Pharisee and a publican. They are types of men and women today. Both were sinners and both were guilty before God (Romans 3:23). The Pharisee, however, thought that God would accept him because of his supposed goodness (verses 9-12). There is absolutely no hope of deliverance from sin’s penalty on the grounds of anything good in ourselves (Romans 3:20; Ephesians 2:8-10; Titus 3:5). The only way to be delivered from the penalty of sin is to look to Jesus and trust in His work on the cross. This is indicated in the publican’s prayer (verse 13). He prayed, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner”. What was the result? – verse 14 tells us! – and here is the promise for you – look up Acts 13:38-39.
2. We need deliverance from the power of evil: the illustration of this is in Romans 7:18-25, and the promise is in Romans 6:14.
What a tremendous struggle is described in the verses in Romans 7! Here is a Christian, conscious of the battle which is going on between his old nature and his new nature, having received his new nature through faith in Christ. Notice the agonising cry in verse 24. How greatly this man needed deliverance, and how he longed to be set free from spiritual and moral bondage! Verse 25 tells us he was set free; and here is the promise for you – look up Romans 6:14.
3. We need deliverance from sudden temptation: the illustration of this is in Genesis 39:1-23, and the promise is in 1 Corinthians 10:13.
We know what it’s like to be faced with sudden temptation, though possibly not the kind that threatened Joseph. Study Genesis 39 carefully, and notice the terrible temptation which came to him and the courageous way he overcame (verses 7-12); then notice how the whole situation was aggravated (verses 14-20); and finally, notice the word “but” in verse 21, and the words that follow on into verse 23. So there is deliverance for the child of God in times of sudden temptation, and here is the promise for you – look up 1 Corinthians 10:13.
4. We need deliverance from gripping fear: the illustration of this is in Psalm 34:4, and the promise is in Proverbs 1:33.
It has been suggested that those whose testimonies are recorded in the early part of Psalm 34 were some of David’s men who were with him in the cave of Adullam. One of these gives a testimony which will help us. He says, “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.” So he was gripped by fear. What did he do? He brought his fears to the Lord and told Him of his need of deliverance – and what happened? He tells us that he was delivered from all his fears – and it is important to notice the word “all”; and if you look up Proverbs 1:33 you will see the Lord’s promise to you about His willingness to free you from fear and to give you peace through faith in Him. His desire for you is illustrated in Mark 4:39.
5. We need deliverance from depression and loneliness: the illustration of this is in 1 Kings 19:1-15, and the promise is in Isaiah 41:10.
In 1 Kings chapters 17, 18 and 19 we see Elijah’s faith shining out at the brook Cherith and in the widow’s house at Zarephath. On Mount Carmel we see it again, and his challenge to the powers of darkness. He stood up to Ahab, Jezebel and the prophets of Baal – what victory! – and then, suddenly, poor Elijah, tired and exhausted, fled for his life (1 Kings 19:3-4). He felt dejected, fearful and depressed and he even prayed to die! He suffered a spiritual collapse, but God came to his help and delivered him; and here is the promise for you – look up Isaiah 41:10.
6. We need deliverance from difficult situations: the illustration of this is in Daniel 6:14-23, and the promise is in Psalm 34:7.
Daniel was brought before the officials in Babylon for his fidelity to God, as a result of which he was thrown to the lions (Daniel 6:16-17). When he was safely sealed in the lions’ den the king, Darius, was also doing something (verses 18-22). In verse 22 we read of his miraculous deliverance, and in verses 26-27 of the king’s decree which ascribed glory to God who had delivered His servant Daniel; and here is the promise for you – look up Psalm 34:7.
7. We need deliverance from resentment and bitterness: the illustration of this is in Acts 7:54-60, and the promise is in Psalm 50:15.
Read about Stephen and his defence at the beginning of Acts chapter 7. Study verses 54-60, and notice his amazing calm and submission, and the fine testimony he gave, even under provocation. We can easily become bitter and resentful when trouble comes and we question God’s dealings with us, but as Stephen was being stoned he glorified God; and here is the promise for you – look up Psalm 50:15.