This week I am writing this email as I prepare to share the Thanksgiving holiday with friends and family. At the same time, my house is decorated for Christmas… yes, we are “those” people. Our house has been decorated for Christmas since before my birthday earlier in the month.
So, with Christmas all around me, it is not hard to be thinking of Jesus. And today I was thinking about the name of Jesus.
His name in Hebrew (which he would have been called by) is Yehoshu’a…
Now, there is a long explanation how we came to the name, Jesus. But that involves an exploration into the Latin translation of the greek Septuagint, and I have lost many of you there, so I will just stop.
Anyway, let’s stick with Jesus. As I reflect on his name, I am reflecting on how it means "God saves," or, "God is our deliverer, our salvation."
Which got me to thinking about the idea of God as Deliverer, as opposed to, say, the preferred idea of God as Preventer.
It made me realize how much I want God to be my Preventer more than Deliverer, meaning, I want him to prevent bad things from happening in my life.
Prevent means it never happens to me.
Deliverer has an entirely different meaning. It means I am in deep trouble and need God to rescue me. Sadly, this a place I seem to continually find myself in. So, I would rather have a God that prevents bad things from happening altogether. I think we all prefer the notion of God as Preventer.
And yet, God is so much more often presented in the Bible as Deliverer.
Just look at how He is described just in the Psalms.
"Arise, O Lord! Deliver me!" (3:7)
"Deliver my life from the sword" (22:20)
"For he will deliver the needy who cry out" (72:12)
And just think about the history of God's people; it is one deliverance after another. But it does not end in the Old Testament, it carries through to the early church as well. For example, the events in Paul’s life cause him to say, "On him we have set our hope, that he will continue to deliver us" 2 Corinthians 1:10.
Not prevent. Deliver. It is a very different view of life with God.
Now, let me be quick to say that I believe God is also our Preventer. Scripture also presents him as our shield. And we have no idea all that he has shielded us from. Which is actually my point.
You don't notice God as Preventer, or shield, because you don't know what was going to happen to you since God shielded you from it.
All we experience is those things where we need God to rescue us, to be our Deliverer.
I think it would be helpful to come to terms with how much we'd all prefer God to be our Preventer. Because when we hold fast to this view, our faith and trust in God will take a lot of hits along the way.
Why did God...how come this...did I not.... You know how this works.
Have you noticed when we get hit with bad things… in other words, God did not prevent something, it often throws us for a loop.
We get shaken. We go to doubt, or some sort of self-accusation and blame. It causes a lot of distress.
But when we realize God is our Deliverer, it helps us not be thrown by the fact that we sometimes find ourselves thrown into the furnace.
God has not abandoned us.
We have not blown it.
When we understand God is far more Deliverer than Preventer, we can then cry out with confidence "O God, deliver me" and wait with hopeful expectation that he will deliver.