The following is the first of a short series about God’s deliverance.
“And when the LORD your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally . . .” (Deut 7:2)
With so much talk going on these days about deliverance and deliverance ministries, it’s enough to make all of us stop for a moment and ask the question: “Do I have something in my life that I need deliverance from?” If you had asked this question of ancient Israel, the answer would have been a hearty “yes”! Israel needed deliverance from lots of things! From the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, to name a few, seven nations larger and stronger than they (See Deut. 7:1).
But wait a minute. How can this relate to Me . . .? After all, none of my enemies have the suffix “ite” attached to them! It’s true. We don’t battle the same obstacles anymore. The Israelites needed physical deliverance from people, while our modern-day enemies are more subtitle: alcohol, drugs, sins of immorality, intemperance, food addictions, impatience, unforgiveness, etc. etc. No, they aren’t humans and they don’t have “ite” attached to the end; but they are enemies just the same!
In addition to numerous other things I needed deliverance from (anger, criticalness, unforgiveness, you know, stuff like that!), I struggled with two horrible addictions for many years. When God gave me deliverance, He did so in two very different ways. One of these “enemies” was simply removed from my life the day I received the gift of the Holy Spirit. The other stuck around to try and entice me back into its horrible spells.
Why? Why did God simply remove all traces of one and not do so with the other? I believe it was because God, in His infinite mercy, knew me. When I received the Holy Spirit, I was involved with a denomination that didn’t believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit. As a result, I doubted what I had received. God knew I would need a tangible sign in order to embrace that this was actually a real gift from Him. I believe this is why this “enemy” was simply removed. And OH what a DAY OF REJOICING that was!
But the other enemy . . . If only it could have gone away so easily! I mean, if I am delivered of this promise, as the Bible tells me I am, than why do I still struggle? But when I read Deut. 7 this morning, I began to understand . . .
Let’s begin by taking a closer look at this verse: “And when the LORD your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally . . .” Notice that God says “when” He delivers them over to the Israelites, but when “they” defeated them, then “they” must destroy them totally! God took these 7 nations of enemies and gave them to Israel, but Israel still had a responsibility. It was Israel’s job to dispose of them!
Still confused? Let’s say that you catch a cricket and place it into the cage of your pet lizard. You have delivered the cricket to the lizard. But the lizard still has something he has to do. He must eat the cricket! And it isn’t your fault at all if he fails to do so! God delivers us of our problems — gives us everything we need to be victorious — but sometimes it is left up to us to actually defeat the enemy. We still have a responsibility to perform. We must take the control given to us by the merits of Jesus’ blood and “destroy them totally”!
To learn how to totally destroy the enemy, see Deliverance, Part 2, appearing in Sunday’s edition of the Illustrator
Love in Christ,
(To access the entire “Deliverance” mini-series, please click here.)