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By Pastor Glenn Pease
Winston Churchill suddenly found himself a 25 year old prisoner of war.
This was in 1899.
He was captured by the South African Army in the Boer War, and he endured a nightmare.
He was the first prisoner of importance to be captured in the war.
Churchill roamed the prison camp in Pretoria, as he plotted an escape.
Finally, he settled on a plan to go over the wall.
It was poorly guarded with only two officers.
The night of the escape began with his hiding in a lavatory.
Churchill lead the way, and was the first to go over the wall.
He waited for the others, and heard the sounds of frenzied movements and whispered warnings that the guards were coming.
The escape was off, but there he was alone on the outside, and he had no maps and no compass.
He did not know whether to climb back in, and wait for a better time, or go on his own.
He decided this could be his only chance, so he went to the railroad station, and caught a freight train.
He had no idea where he was going.
The words spread quickly, and the search was on.
His chance of escape was slim.
He jumped off the train at dawn, and then made his way through the high grass and swamp.
He was miserable under the hot sun.
He was weak, and near delirious, and at nightfall he realized he would have to seek help, no matter how dangerous.
Someone passed in the darkness, and he called out.
By the providence of God, it was the only Englishman in hundreds of miles.
Had he spoken to anyone else he would have been arrested, for the whole country was looking for him.
To make a long story short, this man was able to get him smuggled out of the country.
He eventually made it back to England where he became a hero, and one of the most successful leaders in the history of England.
God provided a way of escape for what seemed hopeless odds against him, and that deliverance made all the difference in the world for his future.
Deliverance determines destiny because, though not everyone gets into a mess like Churchill, everyone at some point in life needs to be delivered from some evil.
It may be external, or it may be internal.
Deliverance is a major theme of the Bible, and of history,
and of life, because there is a constant and continuous need in every human life to experience deliverance.
Who are the heroes of history?
They are the deliverers.
Moses led his people out of Egypt as a great deliverer.
The great kings of Israel, like David, and the great judges, like Samson, were deliverers.
Over and over history repeated itself as the people became ensnared by evil, and came under the bondage of an oppressor.
The Lord would then raise up a deliverer, and the people would sing, "Thou art my help and my deliverer.
The Lord is my rock and deliverer."
You cannot think of a Biblical character that did not in some way need deliverance, or provide it.
Joseph was delivered from the pit, Potipher's wife, and prison.
He was raised up to be a deliverer of his family, and the people of God.
David was delivered from Saul, and raised up to deliver his people from their enemies.
Daniel was delivered from the lions, and became a great leader.
His three friends were delivered from the fiery furnace.
Jonah was delivered from the belly of the fish.
The point can be illustrated endlessly.
Deliverance is no side street.
It is a main road in the word of God.
If you look in your concordance the words deliver, deliverance, and deliverer are used so many times from Genesis to Revelation that you will not even motivated to count them.
The greatest Biblical story of all: The greatest story ever told, is also a story of deliverance.
The Old Testament portrayed the coming of the Messiah as the Deliverer.
Paul quotes the Old Testament in Rom.
11:26, "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob."
The Greek word here for deliver is the one Jesus uses for the last petition of the Lord's Prayer.
The word is rhuomai.
It is the same word used in the cry of Paul in Rom.
"Who will deliver me from this body of death."
In II Cor.
1:10 Paul uses this same word three times.
"He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us, on Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us."
Paul did not have any superficial view of life.
He did not think of deliverance as a once for all experience, like being saved.
He saw it as a continuous, never ending, experience, until that final deliverance, when we escape, not only the penalty and the power of sin, but the very presence, forever.
Until then there is no prayer more relevant than-deliver us from evil.
It is true, as Paul says in another use of this word, in Col. 1:13.
"For He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son..." Jesus has already become our deliverer.
But he also looks ahead in I Thess.
1:10 where he uses the word again to say, "Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come."
There is still future deliverance as well.
Peter calls our attention to the deliverance we are focusing on in this prayer.
He uses the same word in II Peter 2:7 to say, "The Lord knows how to deliver godly men from trials."
Because he knows how Jesus taught us to pray to Him daily-deliver us from evil.
In other words, rescue us in this world of never ceasing threats.
Jesus has no superficial view of life, or of the power of evil.
Do you think that He, who knows the heart of man better than man knows it, is not aware of the ever present temptation to do evil, even in the lives of His most faithful followers.
He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet He was without sin.
But He is not without awareness that none of His followers will ever be without sin.
Do you think He did not know that Christians would get hooked by every piece of bait the subtle serpent would put out to ensnare man?
If he got Adam and Eve to fall, who were uncontaminated by sin, why should he fail with the rest of the polluted race?
Jesus knows His disciples will always be sinners, and that is why they need to pray daily for forgiveness.
He knew they would be subject to daily temptation.
They would be in constant need of deliverance.
They have already been delivered from the penalty of sin, and so they are justified.
They will be finally delivered from the presence of sin, and so be glorified.
But meanwhile, the Christian life is a battle to be delivered from the power of sin, and so be sanctified.
Jesus is saying, by this prayer, there are two key elements involved in being successful in this process of sanctification.
The first is-
Lead us not into temptation.
Here is an awareness of weakness.
Don't lead me into temptation, for I can tell you right off that I cannot stand.
I will fail and fall, so don't put me to the test.
This is the prayer of the aware.
I am not one to pretend that if it was me who faced Satan in the garden we would still be in paradise.
I am not one to pretend that the sins that have brought others down, could not also bring me down.
If pride goes before a fall, then humility should go before a rise, and, therefore, wise is the Christian who is honest and humble about his or her weakness.
This prayer is a confession of pessimism about ones own ability to face temptation and stand.
Don't lead me into temptation, we pray, because we know the outcome will be failure, and we will fall.
The Christian, who in pride, thinks he can take on the devil in hand to hand combat, and not fear defeat, is not listening to the Word of God.
The warnings are to be taken seriously.
The Bible says, "Watch and pray that you enter not into temptation."
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