Deliverance is a central biblical theme because it demonstrates God’s steadfast love for His people.
Deliverance refers to God’s mighty acts of salvation and is a central theme throughout the Bible. God promises to deliver His people from hardship, oppression, and the power of sin. As Christians, we must understand what deliverance means and how God brings it about. The following post explores the biblical foundation of deliverance and looks at five powerful examples where God intervened to free His people.
What is Deliverance and Why Does it Matter?
To “deliver” means to rescue, liberate, or set free. Deliverance often implies saving someone from an oppressive situation, such as sickness, enemies, sin, or other spiritual forces of evil.
Deliverance matters because it demonstrates God’s love, mercy, and compassion for His people. When we are struggling and crying out to God, He hears us and will reach down and pull us out of the pit. As Psalm 34:17 says, “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.” God is a deliverer who can free us from any snare or trap we have fallen into.
Deliverance also matters because it points to the greatest act of redemption – our salvation through Jesus Christ. Just as God delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, He delivers us from sin through Christ. The cross of Christ sets us free from the penalty and power of sin.
5 Examples of Deliverance in the Bible
1. The Exodus from Egypt
The Exodus story is the defining example of deliverance in the Old Testament. After four centuries of slavery and oppression in Egypt, the Israelites cried out to God for rescue. Through 10 plagues, God systematically judged each of the false Egyptian gods, displaying His power over them. In the final plague, God passed over the homes of the Israelites and struck down the firstborn sons of the Egyptians. This broke Pharaoh’s resolve, and he finally allowed the Israelites to leave. As they stood with their backs to the Red Sea, God miraculously parted the waters so the Israelites could escape safely to the other side.
This mighty deliverance by the hand of God is remembered and celebrated every year at Passover. As Exodus 14:13 says, “And Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today…The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.’”
2. Gideon’s Victory over the Midianites
In Judges 6, Israel was terrorized and raided by the invading Midianites. They were impoverished and cried out for deliverance. The angel of the Lord appeared, addressing Gideon as a “mighty man of valor.” Despite feeling weak and inadequate, Gideon believed in God’s promise and gathered an army of 32,000 men. God whittled his army down to just 300 so that it would be clear the victory belonged to God alone. With trumpets and torches, Gideon and his mini-army descended on the Midianite camp at night, confusing them. The enemies panicked and turned their swords on one another. This completed the rout of the Midianite oppressors and secured deliverance for Israel.
3. Hezekiah and Deliverance from the Assyrians
In 2 Kings 18-19, the threatened invasion of the ferocious Assyrian army brought King Hezekiah and Jerusalem to the brink of despair, surrounding Jerusalem and demanding its surrender. King Hezekiah humbled himself before God in the temple, pleading for deliverance. The prophet Isaiah brought the encouraging word that God would defend His city for His own honor. That very night, the angel of the Lord struck down 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. King Sennacherib withdrew in disgrace, and Jerusalem was saved. This stunning deliverance was complete, costing Hezekiah’s men nothing.
4. Daniel in the Lions’ Den
Daniel 6 tells the famous story of Daniel’s deliverance from lions. Envious rivals manipulated King Darius into passing a decree that, for 30 days, people could only pray to him. Daniel refused to stop praying to the true God and was cast into a den of ravenous lions. But an angel was sent to shut the lions’ mouths, protecting Daniel all night. The next day, overjoyed to find Daniel alive and well, the king threw the scheming accusers to the lions instead! Daniel’s faith resulted in a mighty deliverance, showing that God can deliver us from any trial when we trust in Him wholeheartedly.
5. Paul and Silas Freed from Prison
In Acts 16, Paul and Silas were stripped, beaten, and imprisoned for preaching the gospel and freeing a slave girl from a demon. Near midnight in the prison, they were praying and singing hymns of praise to God. An earthquake shook the building, flinging open all the doors and loosening the prisoners’ chains. This would have been the perfect chance for escape. But instead, Paul and Silas stayed put, taking the opportunity to share the gospel with their captor. The jailer and his whole family then confessed to Jesus Christ and were saved. This unexpected deliverance displayed God’s power at work through Paul and Silas, producing belief in Christ.
Throughout history, God has intervened to save and rescue those who trust Him. As we have seen, deliverance ultimately comes from the Lord. He can break the chains of slavery and oppression and set us free from the bondage of sin. These examples encourage us to hope in God’s power when we face hard times. No matter what situation we find ourselves in, we can be confident that our God is willing and able to deliver us if we call out to Him in faith.