As you likely know, the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6 includes a famous line “and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
I was recently drawn to find out more about the word deliver and, after a bit of research, I stumbled onto what, for me, has become a more meaningful view of this idea of being delivered.
Living in the same broken and temptation-filled world as everyone else, I have always liked the idea of being delivered from evil. 🙂
I’ve always taken the word deliver to mean that God is delivering me “from” something….and that is true….but there’s more. The Greek word for deliver, rhuomai, has as its emphasis the idea of God drawing me or delivering me to Himself. Wow.
I am not only being delivered from something…..but am I being delivered to someone?
The Greek word “deliver” has several nuanced definitions, based on Strong’s Greek and Hebrew Concordance:
- “draw to oneself“, draw (pull) to oneself; to rescue (“snatch up”); to draw or rescue a person to and for the deliverer. H. Cremer and G. Winer translate it “to snatch out for oneself“.
- “Deliver me to Yourself and for Yourself.” That is, “Lord deliver me out of my (personal) pains and bring me to You and for You.”
- J. Thayer translates it “to rescue for oneself (to oneself). 4506 /rhýomai (“rescue”) implies removing someone in the midst (presence) of danger or oppression, i.e. delivered “right out of” and to (for) the rescuer.
After reading the wonderful explanations of this single powerful word, I nearly instantly got the image of a young child playing too close to the banks of a fast moving stream or river and then tumbling into the rushing water. Now, surrounded by rushing water (evil) the child needs to be saved. Yes, the child needs to be saved from the water’s peril, but the rescuer wants to save the beloved person “to” Himself.
Next time you say the Lord’s prayer I encourage you to remember and celebrate that you are being saved “from” evil and you are being drawn “to” a loving rescuer who wants you for Himself.
How comforting is that?
Below is a poem I wrote after being reminded of this great truth.
Playing close to sandy banks.
Wild water rushing by.
We stand and sit and run a loose
and believe we will not die.
Having fun and leaning in,
I tumble to the waves.
As rushing waters sway beneath,
I’m tossed about and upside-down
I’ve truly lost my way.
I need a rope I need a throw
From someone on the shore
Deliver me from this great tide and
rushing river’s storm.
The undertow, it pulls me down.
Whitecaps now cover up.
My head now bobbles to and fro
Oh death it seems both high and low.
But oh the joy of that sure float.
Set to strong thick rope.
Tis tossed into the current’s path
before my floating way.
I reach for life and hold on tight.
I’m being saved right now.
I’m being pulled toward the shore
Safety’s grace to now bestow.
Oh thank you God for drawing me
Unto yourself right now;
For bringing me to surface calm
tis at your side I’ll make a vow.
To draw ‘er close, To walk beside
To cling to You;
While sandy soil does shift about
Tis near your heart I shall abide.
Matthew 6: 9-13 is a beautiful prayer that Jesus teaches the disciples. Jesus says (NIV):
“This, then, is how you should pray: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
Thank you Father for snatching us out of the raging rivers of life and for drawing us up to Yourself.