Words have meaning. I think most would agree with that statement. What we say and how we use words give them depth and meaning. They paint a picture and can build you up or tear you down.
If you have ever studied the book of Daniel, especially Daniel chapter three, you have been confronted with a word that has significant meaning: deliverance.
It is a fitting word for Daniel 3 in light of God’s deliverance of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from the fiery furnace.
This chapter demonstrates a prevailing truth that is seen throughout the Bible: God comes to our rescue and saves us.
It is a kind word, a gracious word, a word that illustrates the idea of someone pulling someone else out of great despair.
When this word “deliverance” is associated with the living God, it shows us how He intervenes in our lives and does miraculous things. Beloved, we have a God who desires to set the captive free. He delivers and rescues and gives grace to those who come to Him. This is remarkable.
Deliverance is one of the greatest words in all of Scripture. It is a word that must be in your theology, in your understanding of God and what He does. It even transcends into how we share the Gospel.
People need to know that they face a perilous situation in their lives. We are dead in our sins and trespasses, and the just penalty for those sins that we commit is death.
Scripture says it is appointed once for men to die and then the judgment (Hebrews 9:27). Who can stand on that day when our lives are on trial and the just God, the Creator God, passes judgment?
Deliverance is the joy of the Scriptures, of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and it’s why you and I need Jesus. We need to be rescued.
“Deliverance” needs to be a part of our everyday Christian vocabulary. Why? Because it speaks of God’s redemptive purpose. It shows His mighty hand. It shuts the mouths of the detractors we face.
I think it is safe to say that it could be used as a one-word summary of the Bible. For wrapped up in the word “deliverance,” biblically speaking, is God’s gracious and powerful work in our lives. It sums up the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the means of our deliverance, and it is demonstrated throughout the Scriptures each time God rescues His people, thus showing His character.
The word “deliverance” indicates deliberate action taken by someone and is received by its object with utter thankfulness. It connotes somebody in an impossible dilemma from which they don’t have, personally, the power to extract themselves, somehow being rescued or delivered by a greater source.
In the Old Testament, there are three Hebrew words that are translated “deliver”: natsal, palat and yasha. Natsal is used to speak of a physical deliverance. Palat is the word for deliverance most often used in poetry, such as the book of Psalms. Yasha is the most-used of the three words in the Old Testament, and it speaks to both physical and spiritual deliverance.
The New Testament was written in Greek; it uses the word sozo. Sozo is most often translated “save,” “saved” or “salvation.” It means to be rescued or to be delivered. In fact, when the New Testament talks about salvation or being saved, it usually uses the word sozo.
While it can refer to a physical rescue of a person from a dangerous earthly situation, in the New Testament it most frequently has to do with deliverance from spiritual danger.
There is another New Testament word, rhuomai, used about 18 times, which means the same thing. Paul uses that word in Colossians 1:13–14 when he says, “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
So you have two New Testament words and three Old Testament words that deal with this concept of being delivered, being rescued, being taken out of a dangerous predicament and put into a better situation.
Deliverance then, by all accounts, is a crucial biblical idea. It forms our thoughts about God and what He does. It defines you, Christian. This is a profound truth, that we have been delivered from the wages of our sins, that we have been given grace, and that we are justified in Christ.
God is the rescuer, and man is the rescued. God is the Deliverer, man the delivered. God is the one who provides the plan of deliverance. By so doing, He shows His mighty hand.