Shalom B’Shem Yeshua,
As we contemplated the two Jewish holidays that occur this month, we saw that a common theme unites them: deliverance. The biblical initiator of deliverance is always God, and the object of deliverance, His People. This repeated action reveals a deep truth that runs from Genesis to Revelation: The God of the Bible longs to deliver His children. This deliverance is always an act of love and mercy, motivated and propelled by covenant faithfulness.
There are a few Hebrew words translated as “deliverance” in the Holy Scriptures, but the major three are hatzalah (ha-tza-LAH), teshuah (tesh-oo-AH), and yeshua (yesh-oo-AH). They all have the same general meaning: deliverance, salvation, rescue, and relief. Our Messiah’s name, Yeshua, is
derived from the noun for deliverance or salvation, yeshuah.
In the Tanach (Old Covenant), God’s deliverance is almost always from temporal dangers. He rescues His People from their enemies. He gives them a “great deliverance” (yesh-oo-OAT). “Great deliverance He gives to His king, and shows mercy to His anointed, to David and his descendants forevermore” (Psalm 18:50).
God’s deliverance usually follows some type of humbling by men. For example, “So the leaders of Israel and the king humbled themselves, and they said, ‘The LORD is righteous.’ Now when the LORD saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the LORD came to Shemaiah, saying, ‘They have humbled themselves; therefore I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance…‘” (2 Chronicles 12:6-7).
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob often promised deliverance to His People. “For the LORD your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you (le-hatzi-leh-KHA) and give your enemies over to you…” (Deuteronomy 23:14). “Even to your old age, I am He, and even to your gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you” (Isaiah 46:4— We really like this one!). One more promise of deliverance: “They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you. ‘For I am with you,’ says the LORD, ‘to deliver you‘” (Jeremiah 1:19).
Deliverance in the Psalms
The Book of Psalms is filled with cries for deliverance. The psalmists ask for deliverance from trouble, enemies, workers of iniquity, oppression, deep waters, sin, pestilence, lying lips, deceitful tongues, violence, evil men, persecutors, and uncleanness, among others. King David often beseeched the Lord for deliverance, “O LORD my God, in You I put my trust; save me from all those who persecute me; and deliver me” (Psalm 7:1). “My times are in Your hands; deliver me from the hand of my enemies, and from those who persecute me” (Psalm 31:45). “But You, O GOD the Lord, deal with me for Your name’s sake; because Your mercy is good, deliver (ha-tzi-LEH-ni) me” (Psalm 109:21).
Psalm 32 has been a special source of encouragement and strength to us over our forty-five years of knowing the Lord. Verse seven, in particular, has been a kiss from God when we have passed through times of trial and testing, “You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah.”
What is a song of deliverance? It is a song, based on the Word of God, or the Word of God set to music, that ministers to our spirits and lifts us up when we feel down. The Word of God set to music is very powerful—powerful enough to deliver you! Neil’s favorite song of deliverance is from Psalm 118:24, “This is the day the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (He replaces the “We” with “I.”) Jamie’s favorite is one of her own songs, “Great is Thy Faithfulness.”
Songs of deliverance are meant to be sung regardless of how we feel. They are sung in faith, and God responds to that faith by delivering us from the spiritual forces that seek to depress, oppress, discourage, and defeat us. Songs of deliverance help us rise to the victory that is already ours in Yeshua, our Messiah and Lord (2 Cor. 2:14). Ask the Lord to give you a song of deliverance this month.
Deliverance from Extinction: Purim
The Festival of Purim takes place on the fourteenth of the Jewish month of Adar, March 1, 2018, this year. While it is not one of the Feasts of the Lord of Leviticus 23, it is a special holiday based on the biblical book of Esther. An evil man named Haman, an Agagite, had been promoted to the position of viceroy under King Ahasuerus of the ancient Persian empire. Haman was a descendant of Agag, King of the Amalekites, found in 1 Samuel 15. The Amalekites were ancient enemies of Israel. Haman carried that same hatred, almost 500 years later!
A law was passed in the Persian capital requiring everyone to bow to Haman when he passed by. Mordecai, a loyal Jew, refused to bow down to any man, including Haman. This enraged Haman who devised a plot to have Mordecai and all of Mordecai’s people killed. The king agreed, and a date was determined by lots (Purim, pur-EEM) for the extermination of all the Jews in the kingdom. “And the letters were sent by couriers into all the king’s provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their possessions” (Esther 3:13).
The Jewish People needed deliverance from total extinction! While the name of God does not appear in the book of Esther, a Deliverer moved behind the scenes, with His own Master plan to save and rescue His People. His choice of a vessel to be His agent of deliverance is surprising: a Jew (a race in exile), a woman (a lowly position), and an orphan (the lowest of the low). A big God does not need big people to carry out His rescue operations!
Queen Esther, an orphan who had hidden her Jewish heritage at the request of Mordecai, was charged with revealing her true identity, in order to save and deliver her people. Mordecai sent a message to Esther, “For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance (ha-tza- LAH) will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14).
Esther agrees to go to the king to plead for her people. She calls all the Jews in Shushan to join her in a three-day total fast before going to him. “And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” (Esther 4:16). King Ahasuerus extends his golden scepter to Esther, and after a series of God-incidences, Haman is exposed for the villain that he is, Esther’s people are delivered, and “The Jews had light and gladness, joy and honor” (Esther 8:16). Deliverance!
Deliverance from Slavery: Passover
The Exodus from Egypt is perhaps the most striking deliverance mentioned in the Holy Scriptures. This deliverance is celebrated each year by Jewish people all over the world at the holiday known as Pesach (PAY-sock). Pesach begins on the evening of March 30, 2018. Pesach is also one of the three Pilgrimage Feasts of Leviticus 23, during which all Jewish males were commanded to go up to Jerusalem to worship the Lord.
Having seen the oppression of His People in Egypt, and having heard their cry because of their taskmasters, the God of Israel said, “…I have come down to deliver them (l’ha-tzi-LOW) out of the hands of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey…” (Exodus 3:8).
Our God is a God who delivers from bondage. “Therefore say to the children of Israel: ‘I am the LORD; I will bring you out from under the burden of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments‘” (Exodus 6:6). When our God says “I will,” you can be sure it will happen!
The Exodus story is filled with examples of deliverance: The Hebrew male babies were delivered from death because the Hebrew midwives feared God (Exodus 1:17). The midwives were delivered from the curse of barrenness (Exodus 1:21). Moses, as an infant, was delivered from death, by being placed in the River Nile in a basket (Exodus 2:3). Moses’ mother, Jocheved, was delivered from great sorrow since her baby survived and was raised in the palace (Exodus 2:10). Moses was delivered from death at the hands of Pharaoh (Exodus 2:15). The Israelites were delivered from cruel oppression (Exodus 3:8). The Israelites were delivered from Pharaoh’s army at the Sea of Reeds (Exodus 14:13).
The counterpart of Haman in the Exodus story is Pharaoh, King of Egypt. He is the oppressor, and God, through Moses, is the Deliverer. The LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob identified Himself to Moses as “I AM” (Exodus 3:14). He is the One who will always be victorious over those who would strive to enslave or wipe out the Jewish people. Our God, the Great Deliverer, has triumphed over Pharaoh, Haman, Antiochus, Herod, and Hitler. He will yet triumph over Hamas and Hezbollah, and all others who are diabolically inspired by HaSatan (Hebrew for “adversary”), the real enemy of God and His People.
Deliverance in the New Covenant
Yeshua, the Messiah, was sent into our world to give us not only temporal deliverance, but eternal deliverance from sin, evil, death, and judgment. He came down as a Great Deliverer. Through Him, we can be victorious in the physical as well as the spiritual realms. “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8).
Deliverance, as well as healing, was a major part of Yeshua’s ministry on earth. “God anointed Yeshua of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him” (Acts 10:38). The devil, HaSatan, is real, and he is the source of spiritual warfare that we become aware of once we leave the kingdom of darkness and enter the kingdom of light. The Bible makes it clear that we war against spiritual hosts of wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12). The God who raises the dead, who delivered is from so great a death, and does deliver us, will still deliver us (2 Corinthians 1:10). Our Messiah, in what is known as the “Lord’s Prayer,” instructed His disciples to pray: “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13).
We as believers, living in a fallen world, need deliverance from attacks of the enemy. This takes many forms: depression, fatigue, insomnia, spirits of anger, jealousy, self-condemnation, addictions, etc. The enemy takes advantage of our areas of weakness. Our Lord stands ready to deliver us, to set us free, but we have a part to play. We must resist the devil (1 Peter 5:8-9; James 4:7) and not give place to him (Ephesians 4:26-27). The flesh must be crucified daily (1 Corinthians 15:31; Galatians 5:24). This includes taking control of our thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:3-5), humbling ourselves (James 4:6), and forgiving all those who have hurt us (Matthew 18:21-22). Most of all, we must submit to the lordship of Yeshua and do all we can to enter into greater intimacy with Him. His Love will set us free. God longs to deliver His children, to help us walk in the authority and freedom that He has already purchased for us on the tree of sacrifice (Colossians 1:13; Luke 10:19; Romans 8:37).
Sometimes we need help in order to be totally delivered from oppressive spirits, especially those connected with childhood traumas and dysfunctional family backgrounds. There is a story in the Gospel of John that speaks to this truth. Yeshua had arrived at the site of His friend Lazarus’s grave. He told those with Him to take the stone away that covered the entrance of the burial cave. When they did, Yeshua prayed to His Father, and cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” “And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Yeshua said to them, ‘Loose him, and let him go.‘” (John 11:43-44).
Notice: Yeshua raised Lazarus from the dead. But He asked others to unwrap him. That is the ministry of deliverance! God saves. He raises us from spiritual death, but many times He uses His disciples to help us get out of our old spiritual graveclothes, so that we can walk in newness of life.
Deliverance from the “-ites”
When Rabbi Saul (Paul) cried out, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24), he was alluding to the struggle that we all have between the flesh and the spirit. The answer, of course, is Yeshua. He delivers us. This verse actually is rooted in a custom, practiced by ancient tyrants, of torturing prisoners by strapping a dead body to their backs and letting it decompose while on them. This “body of death” in the spirit realm might be old habits of the flesh and vices that we carry around stubbornly clinging to us. They are “-ites” that we must wage war against and defeat in the name of our Deliverer, Yeshua.
What “-ites?” When God delivered Israel from Egypt, He led them to the Land that He had promised them. However, he left the inhabitants of the Land there (the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites) and told His people that they would have to drive them out (Exodus 23:31). God’s people had been set free, but they still had to battle to inherit their Promise. The Lord was with them to make them victorious (Numbers 33:51-53). In much the same way, we have spiritual “-ites” to confront and defeat: lustites, angerites, mammonites, rejectites, abuseites, religionites, alcoholites, grudgeites, and prideites, to name a few [not real words].
If you ask God to show you any “-ites” that may still be in your life, whether from your own past or from your generational past, He will reveal them to you. Many years ago, Jamie asked the Lord that question, and He showed her the following “-ites” that were generational curses in her family line: alcoholism, materialism, lust, and the inability to love God freely. This happened at a Messiah Conference in the early 70s. Jamie knelt down by the bed in her dorm room, repented of these sins, RENOUNCED THEM OUT LOUD in the Name of Yeshua, and took authority over them. Her confession was, “This is not who I am. I am a new creation in the Messiah, purchased with the blood of the Lamb of God. Yeshua has set me free. The devil is bound in my life. I loose myself from every demonic spirit of bondage from my past. I am sealed with the the Holy Spirit of Promise. I believe the Word of God: ‘Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed’” (John 8:36).
Delivered! The “-ites” must flee at the name of Yeshua, the blood of the Lamb, and the Word of God. Our Messiah gave us a wonderful promise, “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you” (Luke 10:19).
Rejoicing that “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His Love…” (Colossians 1:13),