Monday, August 18, 2014
How does God normally speak to you? For me, its often a feeling deep down in my heart or sometimes a Holy Spirit nudging. I have heard God speak to me a couple of times, but I think He reserves those times for the big stuff :) In any event, a few months ago, I felt God pushing me towards the word “Rescue.” Have you guys heard of a rhema word? In Greek, it means “Utterance” and it usually happens when you are spending time in prayer or reading the Word. Have you ever had a word be EVERYWHERE in your life? When you switch the radio on or off, or when you turn on the TV, or when you overhear other conversations... I feel like God uses these rhema words to get my attention. They usually correspond to the season I'm in, but sometimes they can be for the season to come.
In any event, there is no doubt in my mind that God had been pushing me towards the word rescue. I prayed about it and did some bible digging (remember: I'm a nerd) and He kept impressing on my heart that the “rescue is real” and “His rescue always comes.”
Being a lover of all things word related, I went straight to the source – my friend, Miriam Webster. I looked up what rescue means – and I'll tell you it means this: TO SET FREE FROM DANGER. I also looked up the Greek word for rescue – which is Sozo – which ironically is also the Greek word for save. SO then I got thinking.... in my mind, rescuing and saving are two different things. Remember – Miriam Webster tells me that to rescue is to set free from danger... but she tells me that to SAVE is to prevent from danger or avoid it.
In order to be set free from danger, I have to be IN A DANGEROUS SITUATION ALREADY. There is a NEED for someone or something to come and remove the chains that bind me – whatever those are. BUT if I am saved, I am not necessarily in a dangerous situation. For example, I am saved from the pain of Christmas shopping (which is in about 20 weeks, by the way) because I choose to shop online, but I am not rescued from the pain of it because it doesn't put me in danger.
Being a girl, and a Mom to three girls, I've seen my fair share of princess-type movies. One of my favorites is Tangled, which features the store of Rapunzel. Has anyone seen it? I feel really connected to this movie for some reason. Sounds bizarre, but its just one of those things. In the Disney adaptation, the girl, Rapunzel, is not trapped in the tower, but has merely been convinced that she HAS to stay there and that everything outside of there is dangerous or bad for her. One day, someone breaks in and agrees to help her break the rules so she leaves the tower to follow her dreams. Her 'mother' who had stolen her at birth from the king and queen, ends up following her and trying to derail her from pursuing her dreams. In the end, we realize that the boy who showed up that day actually SAVED her to begin with, but then ended up RESCUING her in the end. She was well kept and cared for in her tower. She had what she needed. She was NOT in danger at first...but as the story unfolds we realize that she really WAS in danger and needed to be RESCUED ( because remember – to be rescued you have to be in danger already). She was a princess. And if Jesus is the King of Kings, then surely we are princesses too. Heirs to the Throne of His grace.
Galatians 1:4 says that (Jesus) gave Himself for our sins TO RESCUE us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.” Funny how Paul wrote this 1965 years ago, and yet we can say WITH CERTAINTY that its still true. Our world is full of filth and cruelty and tragedy and lies and fakeness and uncertainty. All of these things are horrible. All of these things plague us... but we don't have to be defined by it. The fact that we are RESCUED from it doesn't mean that we are completely not part of it, BUT It means that we are no longer enslaved to it. We are no longer enslaved to the negativity of this world.
Don't disregard the part of the scripture that says 'according to the will of our God and Father.” There are things that happen in our lives that are not 'good' per our standards, yet God allows for His reasons. I'm confident that EVERYTHING that happens is according to the will of God – even some of the things that we would prefer not to happen.
We have been rescued. Don't you see the value in this? Yes, we are 'saved' by grace through faith – its not something WE'VE DONE, but something that is a gift from God. Because His grace is poured out upon us, and because of what HE'S DONE (died on the cross), we are RESCUED and no longer bound and enslaved to this world. First, we're saved. Then we're rescued. This world we live in requires us to be rescued. Its dangerous. Its bombarding us constantly with deceit and hurtful things ← both of which are against the very core of who God is.
The good news is that we are saved once and rescued as many times as we need to be. That is the byproduct of His grace. Ezekiel 34:11-12 says – As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep and I will RESCUE them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. The days of clouds and thick darkness come – at times, they are bountiful. So many days I've spent covered in a cloud – or a Spirit – of depression or anxiety or sadness or anger. So many days I've felt my heart thick with darkness – the kind that kind of swoops in like a rain cloud that covers the Son. I am His sheep. He is my shepherd. You've all heard that story, right? The one about the shepherd who leaves the 99 to find the one? That he REJOICED in finding the one? That shepherd knew that the 99 were safe but the one needed to be rescued so He pursued it until He found success. So God, through the prophet Ezekiel, has promised to seek us and RESCUE us when we've been scattered. Wherever we land, whatever we do, He will rescue us. I am His sheep. He is my shepherd.
Psalm 82:3-4 tell us that God rescues the weak and the needy and He delivers us from the hand
of the wicked. Proverbs 24:11 tell us that God RESCUES those who are being taken away to death. The things of this world make us weak, and needy, and drive us towards a spiritual death. In each of these cases, God has chosen to offer us grace and to set us free from the danger of being weak and needy and walking towards death.
Even now. Even now as God sits on the throne and Jesus at His right hand, the Psalms say that “He reaches down from heaven, and rescues me. He draws me out of deep waters.” How many times do we need to be rescued. How many times do we BEG God to hear us from heaven and reach down to simply pick us back up? How many times have we had knees to the ground, arms raised to the sky, lamenting “God HEAR my cry! God, I INTERCEDE ON HER BEHALF!! God WHERE ARE YOU?!??!” I know its a prayer I've said and likely will continue to say. But how good is He to do that? TO reach down, to rescue and to draw me out of deep waters?
Let's go back to the princess analogy. How many princesses do you know have been rescued more than once? The stories usually go that the princess is in trouble, someone rescues her, and then she's living happily ever after. If our lives were like this, we'd be beyond lucky. But they aren't. Our lives are messy and unpredictable and require daily balancing and compromise. We need rescuing MANY times, and I'm grateful that our prince will come every time, on time.
Father, I am SO grateful that you have rescued me. Thank you for your ransom and for the price you paid so that I could have freedom. God, we find our freedom in You so I pray that You would reach down from heaven and draw us out of deep waters. We are Your sheep, and You are our shepherd; shepherd us tonight. Come and find us – we are the one – lost and seeking You . Come and find us. When you find us tonight, God, please unlock us. Help us to be undone for You. Help us to encounter You in a new and fresh way. Revive us, God. Breathe new life in to us, God. Visit with us here tonight. We need you.