TBU: The Bible Unpacked: In-Depth Edition

I.  God’s Saving of His People

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Chapter 19  Part I

God’s Saving of His People

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God has the capacity to save his people always – no matter what the circumstances. Thus God can save his people from all things – and ultimately he does. The Bible contains both numerous examples of God saving his people and promises of him continuing to do so.

In reading this chapter about God’s saving and preservation of his people, one should bear in mind that the Bible also speaks of God’s people experiencing sufferings common to all people (cf. 39. Hard Times) and also persecution for their faith (cf. 40. Persecution). God can and does save and preserve his people, but also does allow or even ordain difficult experiences for his people – often for reasons that may not be clear.

Promises given in the OT of God saving and preserving his people are still very much relevant under the new covenant – as is reflected in a number of NT passages. But they are more applicable in a spiritual sense – in keeping with the greater spiritual nature of the second covenant in contrast to the often more tangible aspects of the first covenant. As such we should bear in mind C. H. Spurgeon’s words: “It is impossible that any ill should happen to the man who is beloved of the Lord…Ill to him is no ill, but only good in a mysterious form. Losses enrich him, sickness is his medicine, reproach his honour, death is his gain”. (See also the introductory comment under Epilogue: God’s Care of the Needy.)

God’s Capacity to Save His People

God is able to save his people – no matter what the circumstances

James 4:12  There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? ▤ 

Heb 5:7  In the days of his flesh, Jesusr offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. ▤ 

r Greek he

Dan 3:15-17  Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good.s But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?” 16Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.t ▤ 

s Aramaic lacks well and good

t Or If our God whom we serve is able to deliver us, he will deliver us from the burning fiery furnace and out of your hand, O king.

2Pet 2:4-9  For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hellu and committed them to chainsv of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; 5if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;w 7and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked 8(for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); 9then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials,x and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, … ▤ 

u Greek Tartarus

v Some manuscripts pits

w Some manuscripts an example to those who were to be ungodly

x Or temptations

1Sam 14:6  Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised. It may be that the Lord will work for us, for nothing can hinder the Lord from saving by many or by few.” ▤ 

Ps 55:18  He redeems my soul in safety from the battle that I wage, for many are arrayed against me. ▤ 

David was confident that God would save him “even though many” (NIV®, NLT) opposed him.

Judg 7:7, 22  And the Lord said to Gideon, “With the 300 men who lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hand, and let all the others go every man to his home.” ▤ 22When they blew the 300 trumpets, the Lord set every man’s [Midianite’s] sword against his comrade and against all the army. And the army fled as far as Beth-shittah toward Zererah,y as far as the border of Abel-meholah, by Tabbath. ▤ 

y Some Hebrew manuscripts Zeredah

In order that Israel would not boast that her own strength had saved her (cf. v. 2), God saved the Israelites with only 300 men against an army of at least tens of thousands.

  • God saved all of the Israelites from Egypt – laden with riches:

Ps 105:37  Then he brought out Israel with silver and gold, and there was none among his tribes who stumbled. ▤ 

The final clause indicates that God saved all of the people – “no one was left behind” (CEV).

God has mighty power to save his people . . .

Deut 9:26  And I prayed to the Lord, ‘O Lord God, do not destroy your people and your heritage, whom you have redeemed through your greatness, whom you have brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand. ▤ 

Neh 1:10  They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand. ▤ 

Ps 20:6  Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with the saving might of his right hand. ▤ 

God’s “saving might” is all-surpassing. Note that God’s “right hand” signifies his mighty power, with the right hand usually being spoken of as the stronger hand.

Ps 74:12-13  Yet God my King is from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth. 13You divided the sea by your might; you broke the heads of the sea monstersz on the waters. ▤ 

z Or the great sea creatures

Note that “the sea monsters” apparently is drawing upon Canaanite mythology, possibly in reference to Egypt in its defeat at the Red Sea.

Ps 79:11  Let the groans of the prisoners come before you; according to your great power, preserve those doomed to die! ▤ 

The “prisoners” may well be the exiles in Babylon (cf. vv. 1-3, 7). In calling on God to preserve the lives of his people condemned to die there, the psalmist indicates that God has great power to do so.

Ps 106:8  Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make known his mighty power. ▤ 

Isa 50:2-3  Why, when I came, was there no man; why, when I called, was there no one to answer? Is my hand shortened, that it cannot redeem? Or have I no power to deliver? Behold, by my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a desert; their fish stink for lack of water and die of thirst. 3I clothe the heavens with blackness and make sackcloth their covering. ▤ 

Isa 63:1  Who is this who comes from Edom, in crimsoned garments from Bozrah, he who is splendid in his apparel, marching in the greatness of his strength? “It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save.” ▤ 

Zeph 3:17  The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. ▤ 

Acts 13:17  The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with uplifted arm he led them out of it. ▤ 

The phrase “uplifted arm” points to God’s “mighty power” (CEV, NIV; cf. GNT, NCV, NLT).

. . . God can perform awesome deeds to save his people

Ex 14:21-23, 26-27, 30  Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. 22And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. 23The Egyptians pursued and went in after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. ▤ 26Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.” 27So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its normal course when the morning appeared. And as the Egyptians fled into it, the Lord threwa the Egyptians into the midst of the sea. ▤ 30Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. ▤ 

a Hebrew shook off

Deut 26:8  And the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great deeds of terror,b with signs and wonders. ▤ 

b Hebrew with great terror

2Sam 22:13-18  Out of the brightness before him coals of fire flamed forth. 14The Lord thundered from heaven, and the Most High uttered his voice. 15And he sent out arrows and scattered them; lightning, and routed them. 16Then the channels of the sea were seen; the foundations of the world were laid bare, at the rebuke of the Lord, at the blast of the breath of his nostrils. 17“He sent from on high, he took me; he drew me out of many waters. 18He rescued me from my strong enemy, from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me. ▤ 

Here David uses references to natural phenomena – probably volcanoes (v. 13), storms (vv. 14-15) and an earthquake (v. 16) – to metaphorically depict God’s mighty deeds in rescuing him.

Ps 65:5  By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas; … ▤ 

Ps 66:5-6a  Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man. 6He turned the sea into dry land; they passed through the river on foot. ▤ 

Ps 118:14-16  The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. 15Glad songs of salvation are in the tents of the righteous: “The right hand of the Lord does valiantly, 16the right hand of the Lord exalts, the right hand of the Lord does valiantly!” ▤ 

In saying that God “does valiantly”, the psalmist speaks of God doing “mighty things” (NCV™, NIV®; cf. GNT, NLT).

Isa 64:3-4  When you did awesome things that we did not look for, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence. 4From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him. ▤ 

Verse 4 implies that the “awesome things that we did not look for” (v. 3) were done by God to deliver his people.

Dan 6:27  He delivers and rescues; he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, he who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions. ▤ 

Particularly in this context, presumably the “signs and wonders” primarily denote the awesome deeds that God has performed in saving his people.

Hab 3:11-13  The sun and moon stood still in their place at the light of your arrows as they sped, at the flash of your glittering spear. 12You marched through the earth in fury; you threshed the nations in anger. 13You went out for the salvation of your people, for the salvation of your anointed. You crushed the head of the house of the wicked, laying him bare from thigh to neck.c Selah ▤ 

c The meaning of the Hebrew line is uncertain

This is a poetic illustration of God’s awesome power and deeds in saving his people.

  • God can do many good things in saving his people:

Ex 18:9  And Jethro rejoiced for all the good that the Lord had done to Israel, in that he had delivered them out of the hand of the Egyptians. ▤ 

God does not need to use any other means but himself to save his people

1Sam 17:46-47  This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, 47and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hand. ▤ 

Isa 31:8  And the Assyrian shall fall by a sword, not of man; and a sword, not of man, shall devour him; and he shall flee from the sword, and his young men shall be put to forced labor. ▤ 

Assyria was a mortal threat to God’s people, but God would crush it without need of human force, and so would save his people.

Isa 52:3, 9-10  For thus says the Lord: “You were sold for nothing, and you shall be redeemed without money.” ▤ 9Break forth together into singing, you waste places of Jerusalem, for the Lord has comforted his people; he has redeemed Jerusalem. 10The Lord has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. ▤ 

God does not need to use material means such as money to redeem his people (v. 3). For he redeems them by his own “holy power” (GNT, NCV, NLT), for all to see (v. 10).

Isa 63:3, 5  I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with me; I trod them in my anger and trampled them in my wrath; their lifebloodd spattered on my garments, and stained all my apparel. ▤ 5I looked, but there was no one to help; I was appalled, but there was no one to uphold; so my own arm brought me salvation, and my wrath upheld me. ▤ 

d Or their juice; also verse 6

This speaks of God executing judgment on enemy forces (v. 3) in saving his people (v. 5). Similar to v. 3a, in v. 5 God appears to be speaking of there being no one to help him (cf. CEV, GNT, NCV, NRSV) realize salvation. As such this illustrates that God does not need human help to save his people.

Hos 1:7  But I will have mercy on the house of Judah, and I will save them by the Lord their God. I will not save them by bow or by sword or by war or by horses or by horsemen. ▤ 

Here God speaks of saving his people by no other power but himself.

Zec 4:6-7  Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts. 7Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain. And he shall bring forward the top stone amid shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’” ▤ 

This is referring to God helping his people accomplish a particular task (the rebuilding of the temple) rather than actually saving them. It is included here to further demonstrate that God does not need to use any other means but himself to accomplish his purposes.

  • No other “god” can save the way God can:

Dan 3:29  Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way. ▤ 

Note: Salvation belongs to God – for he is the only savior

See also:

In saying that salvation belongs to God and that he is the only savior, the Bible suggests that though salvation or deliverance from trouble may take different forms, ultimately God is behind it.

Jonah 2:9  But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord! ▤ 

Ps 3:8  Salvation belongs to the Lord; your blessing be on your people! Selah ▤ 

Ps 68:20  Our God is a God of salvation, and to God, the Lord, belong deliverances from death. ▤ 

Rev 7:10  … and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” ▤ 

Rev 19:1-2  After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, 2for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”e ▤ 

e Greek bondservants; also verse 5

Isa 43:11  I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior. ▤ 

Isa 45:21  Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together! Who told this long ago? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the Lord? And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me. ▤ 

Although the final clause may primarily have in view God being the only God, as per the first clause in the statement, quite possibly it also alludes to the fact that ultimately he the only “Savior”.

Hos 13:4  But I am the Lord your God from the land of Egypt; you know no God but me, and besides me there is no savior. ▤ 

  • One is not saved simply through mortal strength:

Ps 33:16-17  The king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. 17The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue. ▤ 

Similarly 1 Samuel 2:9 says, “… for not by might shall a man prevail.” The implication in both of these references is that ultimately it is God who has control over one’s deliverance, rather than human strength or any other power.

Pray for persecuted Christians

God Saves His People – from All Things

God is the Savior of his people . . .

See also:

Isa 60:16  You shall suck the milk of nations; you shall nurse at the breast of kings; and you shall know that I, the Lord, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. ▤ 

Isa 63:8  For he said, “Surely they are my people, children who will not deal falsely.” And he became their Savior. ▤ 

Jer 14:8  O you hope of Israel, its savior in time of trouble, why should you be like a stranger in the land, like a traveler who turns aside to tarry for a night? ▤ 

During a time of drought in Judah (cf. vv. 1-2), Jeremiah acknowledges and calls upon God as “its savior in time of trouble”.

1Tim 1:1  Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, … ▤ 

Note that the phrase “God our Savior” is also used in the NT in 1 Timothy 2:3; Titus 1:3; 2:10; and 3:4. See also Jude 1:25 below.

Jude 1:25  … to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. ▤ 

Deut 33:29  Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord, the shield of your help, and the sword of your triumph! Your enemies shall come fawning to you, and you shall tread upon their backs. ▤ 

As the one who helps and enables them to triumph, God is the Savior of Israel, “a people saved by the Lord”.

. . . God is the one who their salvation is in

Jer 3:23b  Truly in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel. ▤ 

Ps 18:2  The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. ▤ 

The “horn” refers to “the horns of a bull” (CEV text note), one of the strongest animals in ancient Israel.

Ps 25:5  Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. ▤ 

Ps 37:39  The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble. ▤ 

Ps 62:7  On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. ▤ 

Ps 68:19  Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation. Selah ▤ 

Ps 95:1  Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! ▤ 

Isa 12:2  “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord Godf is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.” ▤ 

f Hebrew for Yah, the Lord

Isa 59:16  He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then his own arm brought him salvation, and his righteousness upheld him. ▤ 

Arguably this points to the fact that God is the ultimate source of his people’s salvation. With no one to intervene on behalf of his people (cf. 63:3-5), here God takes decisive action to save them.

  • The salvation of his people comes from God alone:

Ps 62:1-2  For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. 2He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken. ▤ 

A number of the above verses also suggest that the salvation of his people comes from God alone. Psalm 4:8 likewise points to this – “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

God saves his people out of all troubles

See also:

The following verses do not speak of God saving his people from experiencing any troubles. A number of them speak of situations in which his people had experienced much suffering, in some cases for a number of years. Believers are not immune to experiencing trouble. But God promises to save them out of it, whether this is realized in this life or in the ultimate salvation of the afterlife (cf. 2Tim 4:17-18 ).

Ps 34:4-6, 17, 19  I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. 5Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. 6This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. ▤ 17When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. ▤ 19Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. ▤ 

Ps 54:7  For he has delivered me from every trouble, and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies. ▤ 

Gen 41:51  Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh. “For,” he said, “God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father’s house.”g ▤ 

g Manasseh sounds like the Hebrew for making to forget

Here Joseph in effect acknowledges that God had saved him out of all his trouble or suffering (cf. Acts 7:9 ). Note that his reference to forgetting his father’s household probably has primarily in view the pain of separation from them. The emotional scarring from what his brothers had done to him is another possibility.

Gen 48:15-16  And he blessed Joseph and said, “The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day, 16the angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the boys; and in them let my name be carried on, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitudeh in the midst of the earth.” ▤ 

h Or let them be like fish for multitude

The “angel” (v. 16) appears to be a reference to God, or at least to the angel of the Lord (cf. 16:7-11; 22:11, 15), closely associated with God.

Ex 18:8  Then Moses told his father-in-law all that the Lord had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, all the hardship that had come upon them in the way, and how the Lord had delivered them. ▤ 

1Sam 10:19a  But today you have rejected your God, who saves you from all your calamities and your distresses, and you have said to him, ‘Set a king over us.’ ▤ 

1Ki 1:29  And the king swore, saying, “As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my soul out of every adversity, … ▤ 

Acts 7:9-10  And the patriarchs, jealous of Joseph, sold him into Egypt; but God was with him 10and rescued him out of all his afflictions and gave him favor and wisdom before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who made him ruler over Egypt and over all his household. ▤ 

2Tim 3:10-11  You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, 11my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. ▤ 

2Tim 4:17-18  But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. 18The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. ▤ 

The Lord had rescued Paul from physical danger (v. 17) – in fact he had done so many times (cf. 2Tim 3:11 ). However in light of vv. 6-8 which indicate that Paul’s death was near, it appears that in v. 18 Paul is not this time referring to a physical rescue but a spiritual one – where the Lord would bring him “safely into his heavenly kingdom”.

Ps 25:22  Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles. ▤ 

David’s plea to God to save Israel from all their troubles, implies that God is able to do so.

  • God gives his people an abundance of salvation:

Isa 33:5-6  The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high; he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness, and he will be the stability of your times, abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is Zion’si treasure. ▤ 

i Hebrew his

God saves his people from all their enemies

See also:

Note that many of the verses in the previous subsection probably primarily also have enemies in view.

2Ki 17:39  … but you shall fear the Lord your God, and he will deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies. ▤ 

1Sam 10:18  And he said to the people of Israel, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘I brought up Israel out of Egypt, and I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all the kingdoms that were oppressing you.’ ▤ 

1Sam 12:11  And the Lord sent Jerubbaal and Barakj and Jephthah and Samuel and delivered you out of the hand of your enemies on every side, and you lived in safety. ▤ 

j Septuagint, Syriac; Hebrew Bedan

2Sam 7:9-11a  And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. 10And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, 11from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. ▤ 

2Sam 18:31  And behold, the Cushite came, and the Cushite said, “Good news for my lord the king! For the Lord has delivered you this day from the hand of all who rose up against you.” ▤ 

2Chr 32:22  So the Lord saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib king of Assyria and from the hand of all his enemies, and he provided for them on every side. ▤ 

Ps 6:9-10  The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord accepts my prayer. 10All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled; they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment. ▤ 

Ps 106:10-11  So he saved them from the hand of the foe and redeemed them from the power of the enemy. 11And the waters covered their adversaries; not one of them was left. ▤ 

Isa 41:11-12  Behold, all who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. 12You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them; those who war against you shall be as nothing at all. ▤ 

Mic 6:4-5  For I brought you up from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. 5O my people, remember what Balak king of Moab devised, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him, and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the saving acts of the Lord. ▤ 

The people are called upon to remember how God saved them from their enemies, in taking them from slavery in Egypt to settlement in the promised land.

Luke 1:68-75  Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people 69and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, 70as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, 71that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us; 72to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, 73the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us 74that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, 75in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. ▤ 

The salvation spoken of here is inclusive of both spiritual salvation and salvation from the oppression of enemies (vv. 71, 74) – which will be consummately fulfilled by the final deliverance of God’s people on Jesus Christ’s return.

Acts 26:16-17  But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, 17delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you … ▤ 

On delivering them, God may even honor or exalt his people

See also:

In speaking of God honoring his people after delivering them from a time of trouble, the verses below illustrate the extent of what God’s salvation can comprise.

Ps 91:15  When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. ▤ 

Ps 71:20-21  You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again. 21You will increase my greatness and comfort me again. ▤ 

Ps 3:2-3  … many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God. Selahk 3But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. ▤ 

k The meaning of the Hebrew word Selah, used frequently in the Psalms, is uncertain. It may be a musical or liturgical direction

The implication is that God would deliver him, bestowing glory on him.

Ps 18:35, 48  You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great. ▤ 48who delivered me from my enemies; yes, you exalted me above those who rose against me; you rescued me from the man of violence. ▤ 

In v. 35b, “your gentleness made me great” appears to refer to God being prepared to “stoop down” (NIV®; cf. NCV) to make David great. In v. 48b David is quite possibly speaking of God setting him over his enemies, either in authority or greatness (cf. CEV, NCV) – hence the verse’s inclusion here. However, he could instead be speaking of lifting him “beyond the reach” of his enemies (NLT; cf. GNT).

Ps 37:32-34  The wicked watches for the righteous and seeks to put him to death. 33The Lord will not abandon him to his power or let him be condemned when he is brought to trial. 34Wait for the Lord and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land; you will look on when the wicked are cut off. ▤ 

Note: God is the light of his people, giving them light . . .

See also:

OT verses that speak of God giving light to his people generally use “light” to represent that which extends from God’s favor, such as salvation and well-being. By such things, metaphorically speaking the darkness of one’s circumstances is turned to light. (See also the comment below on Psalms 27:1.)

2Sam 22:29  For you are my lamp, O Lord, and my God lightens my darkness. ▤ 

Ps 27:1  The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strongholdl of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? ▤ 

l Or refuge

“The Lord is my light” is acknowledgment of God as the source of that which “light” represents, here salvation and well-being (cf. NSB).

Ps 84:11  For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. ▤ 

The description of God as a “sun” is indicative of him being “our light” (NLT) – bestowing favor and honor, withholding no good thing.

Isa 10:16-17  Therefore the Lord God of hosts will send wasting sickness among his stout warriors, and under his glory a burning will be kindled, like the burning of fire. 17The light of Israel will become a fire, and his Holy One a flame, and it will burn and devour his thorns and briers in one day. ▤ 

Here the portrayal of God as his people’s light is one of destructive power against her enemies, in contrast but complimentary to portrayals of his light shining on her in providing salvation.

Isa 60:1-3, 19-20  Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. 2For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. 3And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. ▤ 19The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light;m but the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.n 20Your sun shall no more go down, nor your moon withdraw itself; for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall be ended. ▤ 

m Masoretic Text; Dead Sea Scroll, Septuagint, Targum add by night

n Or your beauty

As reflected in Revelation 21:23 and 22:5 below, the ultimate fulfillment of this prophecy regarding Zion – vv. 19-20 particularly – will be in the new Jerusalem. A present day application is that this reflects that God’s people experience his continued presence and the associated blessings; God’s everlasting light transforms all aspects of their lives (cf. ZBC).

Ps 4:6  There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!” ▤ 

The “light of your face” speaks of the light of God’s favor in him watching over his people.

Ps 36:9  For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light. ▤ 

Ps 43:3  Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling! ▤ 

Ps 97:11  Light is sowno for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart. ▤ 

o Most Hebrew manuscripts; one Hebrew manuscript, Septuagint, Syriac, Jerome Light dawns

This seems to speak of light along with joy being sewn in the lives of the righteous, so as to produce significant blessing.

Ps 118:27a  The Lord is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us. ▤ 

Rev 21:23  And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. ▤ 

Rev 22:5  And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. ▤ 

. . . God gives his people light even amidst darkness

In the following verses “darkness” is used as a metaphor for difficult times.

Job 29:3  … when his lamp shone upon my head, and by his light I walked through darkness, … ▤ 

Ps 18:28  For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness. ▤ 

In saying that “it is you who light my lamp”, David indicates that God brings light to his life (cf. NLT), as reflected in the second clause.

Ps 112:4  Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous. ▤ 

Isa 42:16  And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them. ▤ 

Initially at least, this is referring to God bringing the exiles back to their homeland from Babylon. Possibly the people are called “the blind” to indicate their helplessness in the face of dark circumstances, but note that some commentators interpret it to be referring to their spiritual blindness (cf. vv. 18-19).

Isa 58:8-10  Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. 9Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, 10if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. ▤ 

Mic 7:8-9  Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me. 9I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I have sinned against him, until he pleads my cause and executes judgment for me. He will bring me out to the light; I shall look upon his vindication. ▤ 

Ezra 9:8  But now for a brief moment favor has been shown by the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant and to give us a secure holdp within his holy place, that our God may brighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our slavery. ▤ 

p Hebrew nail, or tent-pin

Ezra is referring to God arranging the return of a remnant of Jews to Jerusalem, from exile and bondage in Babylon. The phrases “brighten our eyes” and “in our slavery” reflect that God gives his people light even in the midst of darkness.

  • The contrasting light and dark paths of the righteous and the wicked:

Prov 4:18-19  But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. 19The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble. ▤ 

Being precise, the “path” (and “way”) refers either: to the path one chooses to take – that of righteousness with spiritual light or that of spiritual wickedness with darkness, producing either well-being or trouble; or to the path which one’s life takes as a result of righteousness or wickedness – containing light (well-being) or darkness (trouble).

Pray for persecuted Christians

God Redeems His People

See also:

In the OT (from which most of the verses in this section come), references to God redeeming his people generally speak of God saving them or setting them free from oppression. Occasionally they may involve the concept of exchanging a substitute or ransom, which is prominent in the NT usage.

God is the Redeemer of his people . . .

See also:

Ps 19:14  Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. ▤ 

Ps 78:35  They remembered that God was their rock, the Most High God their redeemer. ▤ 

Isa 41:14  Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I am the one who helps you, declares the Lord; your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel. ▤ 

Isa 47:4  Our Redeemer—the Lord of hosts is his name— is the Holy One of Israel. ▤ 

Isa 49:26  I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh, and they shall be drunk with their own blood as with wine. Then all flesh shall know that I am the Lord your Savior, and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. ▤ 

Isa 54:5  For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called. ▤ 

Isa 63:16  For you are our Father, though Abraham does not know us, and Israel does not acknowledge us; you, O Lord, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is your name. ▤ 

Job 19:25  For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth.q ▤ 

q Hebrew dust

Job states his conviction that God would show himself to be his Redeemer, vindicating him in the end, even if that should be after his death. Note that some commentators see this verse as pointing to Jesus Christ as “Redeemer”.

. . . God redeems his people

Neh 1:10  They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand. ▤ 

Ps 31:5  Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God. ▤ 

Ps 34:22  The Lord redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned. ▤ 

Ps 71:23  My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed. ▤ 

Isa 1:27  Zion shall be redeemed by justice, and those in her who repent, by righteousness. ▤ 

Isa 35:9-10  No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there. 10And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. ▤ 

The future renewed Israel is primarily in view here as in 62:12 below – and possibly ultimately in view in some of the other following references from Isaiah.

Isa 43:1, 3-4  But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. ▤ 3For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you. 4Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life. ▤ 

The second half of v. 4 is referring to what was said in v. 3, suggesting that in exchange for allowing the exiles to return home, God would allow the Persians to usurp the countries mentioned in v. 3b. As such God speaks of giving these countries to the Persians as a ransom to redeem his people.

Isa 44:22-23  I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you. 23Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done it; shout, O depths of the earth; break forth into singing, O mountains, O forest, and every tree in it! For the Lord has redeemed Jacob, and will be glorifiedr in Israel. ▤ 

r Or will display his beauty

Isa 52:3, 9  For thus says the Lord: “You were sold for nothing, and you shall be redeemed without money.” ▤ 9Break forth together into singing, you waste places of Jerusalem, for the Lord has comforted his people; he has redeemed Jerusalem. ▤ 

Isa 62:12  And they shall be called The Holy People, The Redeemed of the Lord; and you shall be called Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken. ▤ 

Isa 63:9  In all their affliction he was afflicted,s and the angel of his presence saved them; in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old. ▤ 

s Or he did not afflict

Zec 10:8  I will whistle for them and gather them in, for I have redeemed them, and they shall be as many as they were before. ▤ 

Luke 1:68  Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people … ▤ 

Ps 25:22  Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles. ▤ 

  • With God is plentiful redemption:

Ps 130:7  O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption. ▤ 

God redeems his people from enemies

Note that the contexts of most of the verses in the previous subsection show that they likewise have redemption from enemies in view. Some of the verses in the following subsection do too, speaking of freedom from such things as imprisonment by enemies.

Ex 6:6  Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment. ▤ 

Ps 106:10  So he saved them from the hand of the foe and redeemed them from the power of the enemy. ▤ 

Ps 107:2-3  Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from troublet 3and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south. ▤ 

t Or from the hand of the foe

The alternative rendering in the text note makes clear that redemption from enemies is in view (cf. AMP, GNT, NASB, NCV, NIV, NKJV, NLT).

Isa 48:20  Go out from Babylon, flee from Chaldea, declare this with a shout of joy, proclaim it, send it out to the end of the earth; say, “The Lord has redeemed his servant Jacob!” ▤ 

Jer 15:21  I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked, and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless. ▤ 

Jer 31:11  For the Lord has ransomed Jacob and has redeemed him from hands too strong for him. ▤ 

Jer 50:33-34  Thus says the Lord of hosts: The people of Israel are oppressed, and the people of Judah with them. All who took them captive have held them fast; they refuse to let them go. 34Their Redeemer is strong; the Lord of hosts is his name. He will surely plead their cause, that he may give rest to the earth, but unrest to the inhabitants of Babylon. ▤ 

Isa 9:4  For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. ▤ 

The last phrase refers to Gideon’s remarkable defeat of the Midianites, through God’s power, by which the Israelites were freed from Midian’s oppression of them. Note that in the subsequent chapter Isaiah similarly says – in regard to the Assyrian’s oppression of his people – “And in that day his burden will depart from your shoulder, and his yoke from your neck; and the yoke will be broken because of the fat.” (10:27)

God sets his people free from suffering and things that imprison

See also:

Ps 44:1-2  O God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us, what deeds you performed in their days, in the days of old: 2you with your own hand drove out the nations, but them you planted; you afflicted the peoples, but them you set free; … ▤ 

Ps 81:6  I relieved youru shoulder of the burden; your hands were freed from the basket. ▤ 

u Hebrew his; also next line

This refers to God setting the Israelites free from enforced labor, their time of slavery of in Egypt.

Ps 102:18-20  Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord: 19that he looked down from his holy height; from heaven the Lord looked at the earth, 20to hear the groans of the prisoners, to set free those who were doomed to die, … ▤ 

Here the psalmist has his own anticipated deliverance partially in view.

Ps 116:16  O Lord, I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant. You have loosed my bonds. ▤ 

Ps 118:5  Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. ▤ 

Ps 119:32, 45  I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart! ▤ 45and I shall walk in a wide place, for I have sought your precepts. ▤ 

v Or for you set my heart free

The Hebrew rendered “you enlarge my heart” (v. 32) may be referring to an increased understanding (cf. CEV, GNT, NRSV). However the rendering in the text note – “for you set my heart free” (cf. NIV) – may be preferable, making it relevant to this subsection. Verse 45 indicates that following God’s teachings brings “freedom” (CEV, GNT, NCV, NIV, NLT; cf. AMP, NASB, NKJV, NRSV). Note that similarly Job 36:16 speaks of God bringing Job “out of distress into a broad place where there was no cramping …”

Isa 14:3  When the Lord has given you rest from your pain and turmoil and the hard service with which you were made to serve, … ▤ 

Isaiah speaks of God giving his people rest from these things, effectively setting them free from such things (cf. CEV).

Isa 51:14  He who is bowed down shall speedily be released; he shall not die and go down to the pit, neither shall his bread be lacking. ▤ 

Isa 61:1  The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor;w he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;x … ▤ 

w Or afflicted

x Or the opening [of the eyes] to those who are blind; Septuagint and recovery of sight to the blind

Here the work of the Messiah is primarily in view. Jesus applied vv. 1-2a to himself in Luke 4:19-20. As such it largely speaks of spiritual freedom and release.

Zec 9:11  As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. ▤ 

Luke 13:10-13, 16  Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. 11And there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. 12When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” 13And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. ▤ 16And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” ▤ 

God will redeem his people from death

See also:

There are at least two ways in which the Bible speaks of God redeeming his people from death. One way is deliverance from premature physical death, (cf. Ps 103:4 ; Lam 3:58 ). A second way is redemption or salvation from the eternal state of death, as per the above cross references. This is most likely the sense in Psalms 49:15 below; also see Hosea 13:14 and Romans 8:21 below, and the accompanying comments.

Ps 103:2-4  Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, 3who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, 4who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, … ▤ 

Lam 3:58  You have taken up my cause, O Lord; you have redeemed my life. ▤ 

Ps 49:15  But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me. Selah ▤ 

The use of “ransom” implies that redemption is in view – “redeem my soul” (NASB, NKJV; cf. NIV, NLT).

Hos 13:14  Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol? Shall I redeem them from Death? O Death, where are your plagues? O Sheol, where is your sting? Compassion is hidden from my eyes. ▤ 

Because of Israel’s great sin, God is indicating here that he will not redeem them from death. However, as such it reflects that he can do so and even suggests that he will do so for those who truly are his (cf. NIV, NKJV). This assertion is supported by the fact that in 1 Corinthians 15:54-57 Paul applies the verse to the believer’s victory over death through Jesus Christ.

  • The freedom of God’s people in the afterlife:

Rom 8:21  … that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. ▤ 

This freedom of God’s children would appear to encompass freedom from decay as well as being at least applicable to freedom from sin and its consequences (notably death) – and any danger.

Note: God vindicates his people

See also:

To vindicate someone is to clear them from blame; one could say it means to free or redeem from blame.

Ps 135:14  For the Lord will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants. ▤ 

Isa 50:7-8  But the Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame. 8He who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who is my adversary? Let him come near to me. ▤ 

Vindication of the Messiah is foremost in view here.

Jer 51:10  The Lord has brought about our vindication; come, let us declare in Zion the work of the Lord our God. ▤ 

Ps 37:6  He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. ▤ 

This most likely speaks of God causing his people’s “vindication” (NRSV) to be as clear as the shining of the sun (cf. CEV).

Isa 54:17  … no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindicationy from me, declares the Lord. ▤ 

y Or righteousness

Mic 7:9-10  I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I have sinned against him, until he pleads my cause and executes judgment for me. He will bring me out to the light; I shall look upon his vindication. 10Then my enemy will see, and shame will cover her who said to me, “Where is the Lord your God?” My eyes will look upon her; now she will be trampled down like the mire of the streets. ▤ 

God vindicates his people, establishing justice for them and saving them (v. 9). As such God proves to their enemies: the validity of his people’s cause; and the reality of himself as their God who cares for them as his people (v. 10).

  • The Lord will not let the righteous be condemned when brought to trial:

Ps 37:32-33  The wicked watches for the righteous and seeks to put him to death. 33The Lord will not abandon him to his power or let him be condemned when he is brought to trial. ▤ 

Pray for persecuted Christians

God Helps His People against Enemies

See also:

God helps his people in need, including against enemies

Although not always specifically referred to in a number of the verses in this and the following subsection, it is help against enemies that is primarily in view in most of the verses.

1Chr 12:18  Then the Spirit clothed Amasai, chief of the thirty, and he said, “We are yours, O David, and with you, O son of Jesse! Peace, peace to you, and peace to your helpers! For your God helps you.” Then David received them and made them officers of his troops. ▤ 

2Chr 32:8  With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people took confidence from the words of Hezekiah king of Judah. ▤ 

Ps 27:9  Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation! ▤ 

In a prayer for help against enemies, David speaks of God’s past help.

Ps 86:17  Show me a sign of your favor, that those who hate me may see and be put to shame because you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me. ▤ 

David asks for “a sign of your favor” that would shame his enemies. The past tense of “helped” and “comforted” may allude to God’s past help and comfort of David, or primarily reflect David’s confidence that God would help and comfort him again with such goodness.

Ps 115:9-11  O Israel,z trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield. 10O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield. 11You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield. ▤ 

z Masoretic Text; many Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint, Syriac O house of Israel

Ps 121:1-2  I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? 2My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. ▤ 

Help against enemies would appear to be at least partially in view here (cf. v. 7).

Ps 124:8  Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth. ▤ 

The “name” of the Lord denotes his presence, here with the implication that all his wondrous attributes are on hand to help his people.

Luke 1:54-55  He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, 55as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever. ▤ 

Heb 13:6  So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” ▤ 

Deut 33:26  There is none like God, O Jeshurun, who rides through the heavens to your help, through the skies in his majesty. ▤ 

Not only does God help his people, there is no one like him, who can help like he can.

God consistently helps his people in need

Ps 46:1  God is our refuge and strength, a very presenta help in trouble. ▤ 

a Or well proved

Acts 26:21-22  For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. 22To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: … ▤ 

1Sam 7:12-13  Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shenb and called its name Ebenezer;c for he said, “Till now the Lord has helped us.” 13So the Philistines were subdued and did not again enter the territory of Israel. And the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. ▤ 

b Hebrew; Septuagint, Syriac Jeshanah

c Ebenezer means stone of help

Samuel set up a type of monument and called it “Ebenezer” (v. 12), which as the text note states means “stone of help”. He did this as an acknowledgment that up to that point in time God had helped the Israelites “every step of the way” (NIrV®; cf. GNT). Following this occasion God continued to help the Israelites against the Philistines, doing so all throughout Samuel’s lifetime (v. 13b).

Ps 68:19  Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation. Selah ▤ 

  • God works all things together for the good of his people:

Rom 8:28  And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,d for those who are called according to his purpose. ▤ 

d Some manuscripts God works all things together for good, or God works in all things for the good

Note the alternative renderings in the text note.

God helps his people by upholding them and delivering them from enemies

See also:

Verses regarding God’s help in physical warfare/adversity are readily applicable to spiritual warfare and dealing with various kinds of adversaries and opposition.

Ps 46:5  God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. ▤ 

Here “her” refers to Jerusalem.

Ps 54:3-4  For strangerse have risen against me; ruthless men seek my life; they do not set God before themselves. Selah 4Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life. ▤ 

e Some Hebrew manuscripts and Targum insolent men (compare Psalm 86:14)

Isa 41:10-14  … fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 11Behold, all who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. 12You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them; those who war against you shall be as nothing at all. 13For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” 14Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I am the one who helps you, declares the Lord; your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel. ▤ 

2Chr 18:31-32  As soon as the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, they said, “It is the king of Israel.” So they turned to fight against him. And Jehoshaphat cried out, and the Lord helped him; God drew them away from him. 32For as soon as the captains of the chariots saw that it was not the king of Israel, they turned back from pursuing him. ▤ 

Ps 37:40  The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him. ▤ 

Ps 94:16-17  Who rises up for me against the wicked? Who stands up for me against evildoers? 17If the Lord had not been my help, my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence. ▤ 

Isa 50:7-9  But the Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame. 8He who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who is my adversary? Let him come near to me. 9Behold, the Lord God helps me; who will declare me guilty? Behold, all of them will wear out like a garment; the moth will eat them up. ▤ 

This is from one of Isaiah’s servant songs, and so is ultimately referring to the Messiah.

  • With God as their helper, his people need not fear anyone:

Heb 13:6  So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” ▤ 

God helps his people defeat enemies

Ps 118:7, 12-13  The Lord is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me. ▤ 12They surrounded me like bees; they went out like a fire among thorns; in the name of the Lord I cut them off! 13I was pushed hard,f so that I was falling, but the Lord helped me. ▤ 

f Hebrew You (that is, the enemy) pushed me hard

Gen 49:23-25  The archers bitterly attacked him, shot at him, and harassed him severely, 24yet his bow remained unmoved; his armsg were made agile by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob (from there is the Shepherd,h the Stone of Israel), 25by the God of your father who will help you, by the Almightyi who will bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that crouches beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb. ▤ 

g Hebrew the arms of his hands

h Or by the name of the Shepherd

i Hebrew Shaddai

Deut 33:29  Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord, the shield of your help, and the sword of your triumph! Your enemies shall come fawning to you, and you shall tread upon their backs. ▤ 

Josh 14:12  So now give me this hill country of which the Lord spoke on that day, for you heard on that day how the Anakim were there, with great fortified cities. It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall drive them out just as the Lord said. ▤ 

2Chr 26:6-7  He went out and made war against the Philistines and broke through the wall of Gath and the wall of Jabneh and the wall of Ashdod, and he built cities in the territory of Ashdod and elsewhere among the Philistines. 7God helped him against the Philistines and against the Arabians who lived in Gurbaal and against the Meunites. ▤ 

Ps 18:29, 32-36, 39-40  For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall. ▤ 32the God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless. 33He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights. 34He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. 35You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great. 36You gave a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip. ▤ 39For you equipped me with strength for the battle; you made those who rise against me sink under me. 40You made my enemies turn their backs to me,j and those who hated me I destroyed. ▤ 

j Or You gave me my enemies’ necks

The “wall” (v. 29) would most likely be a wall of his enemies, presumably for their defenses (cf. GNT), perhaps a city wall (cf. CEV).

For God fights for his people, giving victory over enemies . . .

See also:

Note that the references below from Exodus 14 and 2 Chronicles 20 speak of God defeating Israel’s enemies without the Israelites even having to fight. Most of the other references speak of God fighting with the Israelites, to enable them to be victorious over their enemies.

Ex 14:13-14, 23-28  And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. 14The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” ▤ 23The Egyptians pursued and went in after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. 24And in the morning watch the Lord in the pillar of fire and of cloud looked down on the Egyptian forces and threw the Egyptian forces into a panic, 25cloggingk their chariot wheels so that they drove heavily. And the Egyptians said, “Let us flee from before Israel, for the Lord fights for them against the Egyptians.” 26Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.” 27So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its normal course when the morning appeared. And as the Egyptians fled into it, the Lord threwl the Egyptians into the midst of the sea. 28The waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen; of all the host of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea, not one of them remained. ▤ 

k Or binding (compare Samaritan, Septuagint, Syriac); Hebrew removing

l Hebrew shook off

Judg 4:14-16  And Deborah said to Barak, “Up! For this is the day in which the Lord has given Sisera into your hand. Does not the Lord go out before you?” So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with 10,000 men following him. 15And the Lord routed Sisera and all his chariots and all his army before Barak by the edge of the sword. And Sisera got down from his chariot and fled away on foot. 16And Barak pursued the chariots and the army to Harosheth-hagoyim, and all the army of Sisera fell by the edge of the sword; not a man was left. ▤ 

In saying that the Lord had gone out before them (v. 15; cf. 1Chr 14:15 ), Deborah spoke of the Lord “marching ahead” (NLT) of the Israelites, leading them in the attack, to route their enemies at their advance (v. 16).

2Sam 8:14  Then he put garrisons in Edom; throughout all Edom he put garrisons, and all the Edomites became David’s servants. And the Lord gave victory to David wherever he went. ▤ 

1Chr 14:15-16  And when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, then go out to battle, for God has gone out before you to strike down the army of the Philistines.” 16And David did as God commanded him, and they struck down the Philistine army from Gibeon to Gezer. ▤ 

2Chr 20:15, 17, 22, 29  And he said, “Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s. ▤ 17You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.” ▤ 22And when they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed. ▤ 29And the fear of God came on all the kingdoms of the countries when they heard that the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. ▤ 

Note that the “ambush” (v. 22) appears to have involved the enemy forces destroying each other (cf. v. 23), seemingly in confusion orchestrated by God.

2Chr 32:8  With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people took confidence from the words of Hezekiah king of Judah. ▤ 

Neh 4:20  In the place where you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us. ▤ 

Here Nehemiah gives his strategy should his people be attacked while rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls. He confidently asserts that if they are attacked God would fight for them.

Ps 60:12  With God we shall do valiantly; it is he who will tread down our foes. ▤ 

Ex 17:15  And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The Lord Is My Banner, … ▤ 

God is his people’s banner amidst the battle – the base or source of victory. As such the title “The Lord Is My Banner” effectively means: “The Lord Gives Me Victory.” (CEV)

. . . as God fought for the Israelites in their conquest of Canaan

Deut 9:1-3  Hear, O Israel: you are to cross over the Jordan today, to go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourselves, cities great and fortified up to heaven, 2a people great and tall, the sons of the Anakim, whom you know, and of whom you have heard it said, ‘Who can stand before the sons of Anak?’ 3Know therefore today that he who goes over before you as a consuming fire is the Lord your God. He will destroy them and subdue them before you. So you shall drive them out and make them perish quickly, as the Lord has promised you. ▤ 

Deut 20:4  … for the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory. ▤ 

Josh 10:10-14  And the Lord threw them into a panic before Israel, whom struck them with a great blow at Gibeon and chased them by the way of the ascent of Beth-horon and struck them as far as Azekah and Makkedah. 11And as they fled before Israel, while they were going down the ascent of Beth-horon, the Lord threw down large stones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died. There were more who died because of the hailstones than the sons of Israel killed with the sword. 12At that time Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord gave the Amorites over to the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, “Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.” 13And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jashar? The sun stopped in the midst of heaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day. 14There has been no day like it before or since, when the Lord heeded the voice of a man, for the Lord fought for Israel. ▤ 

m Or and he

There are many explanations of what is being described in vv. 12-13, such as a solar eclipse occurring or that the phrase “stood still” may in fact mean “stopped shining”. But most commentators understand it to literally mean that the sun’s position in relation to the earth did not change for about a day.

Josh 10:42  And Joshua captured all these kings and their land at one time, because the Lord God of Israel fought for Israel. ▤ 

Josh 23:3-5, 10  And you have seen all that the Lord your God has done to all these nations for your sake, for it is the Lord your God who has fought for you. 4Behold, I have allotted to you as an inheritance for your tribes those nations that remain, along with all the nations that I have already cut off, from the Jordan to the Great Sea in the west. 5The Lord your God will push them back before you and drive them out of your sight. And you shall possess their land, just as the Lord your God promised you. ▤ 10One man of you puts to flight a thousand, since it is the Lord your God who fights for you, just as he promised you. ▤ 

Ps 44:3-7  … for not by their own sword did they win the land, nor did their own arm save them, but your right hand and your arm, and the light of your face, for you delighted in them. 4You are my King, O God; ordain salvation for Jacob! 5Through you we push down our foes; through your name we tread down those who rise up against us. 6For not in my bow do I trust, nor can my sword save me. 7But you have saved us from our foes and have put to shame those who hate us. ▤ 

The psalmist parallels God giving the Israelites victory in their conquest of Canaan (v. 3) with his own experience of – and/or belief in – God giving the people victory in his own lifetime (vv. 4-7).

God enables his people to overcome all that is in the world, including Satan

Rom 8:31, 35, 37  What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can ben against us? ▤ 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? ▤ 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. ▤ 

n Or who is

Verse 31b implies that if God is for us then no one can effectively oppose us. In all adversity we are more than conquerors through Christ (v. 37; cf. CEV, NIrV, NLT).

Luke 10:19-20  Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. 20Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven. ▤ 

Here “serpents and scorpions” (v. 19) most likely is a reference to evil spirits (v. 20). The “enemy” is Satan (cf. CEV). There is disagreement among commentators as to what degree this authority – given here to the disciples – is given to believers generally.

1Jn 2:14  I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one. ▤ 

The reference to the word of God living in these believers implies that it played a significant role in them overcoming Satan. As such this points to God enabling his people to overcome Satan.

1Jn 4:4  Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. ▤ 

This speaks of overcoming false prophets, who are ultimately inspired by “the spirit of the antichrist” (v. 3). The one “who is in you” is most likely referring to the Holy Spirit, but it could be referring to God or Jesus Christ. The one “who is in the world” refers to Satan.

1Jn 5:3-5  For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 4For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? ▤ 

To “overcome the world” means to rise above its sinful way of life. This victory is our faith (v. 4), or won through our faith, which is essentially believing that Jesus is the Son of God (v. 5) and acting accordingly.

Rev 12:10-11  And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brotherso has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. ▤ 

o Or brothers and sisters

This appears to be saying that these believers overcame Satan by their belief in and testimony to Jesus Christ’s death and its significance. As such it is applicable to all believers in their conflict with Satan.

Ps 91:13  You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot. ▤ 

The lions and snakes (cf. Luke 10:19 ) denote dangers or foes, possibly implying both powerful ones (the lions) and insidious ones (the snakes). As such they are applicable to both physical and spiritual enemies.

Isa 54:15, 17  If anyone stirs up strife, it is not from me; whoever stirs up strife with you shall fall because of you. ▤ 17no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindicationp from me, declares the Lord. ▤ 

p Or righteousness

These promises are made to Jerusalem in its time of future renewal.

  • Despite trouble, God’s people have peace in Jesus Christ – who has overcome the world:

John 16:33  I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. ▤ 

Although the world causes his followers trouble, in him – the one who has overcome the world – they have peace amidst the trouble.

Further examples of God saving his people from enemies

1Sam 17:37, 47-49, 51b  And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!” ▤ 47and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hand.” 48When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground. ▤ 51… When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. ▤ 

2Sam 22:17-20  He sent from on high, he took me; he drew me out of many waters. 18He rescued me from my strong enemy, from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me. 19They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my support. 20He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me. ▤ 

Ezra 8:31  Then we departed from the river Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go to Jerusalem. The hand of our God was on us, and he delivered us from the hand of the enemy and from ambushes by the way. ▤ 

Ps 18:47-48  … the God who gave me vengeance and subdued peoples under me, 48who delivered me from my enemies; yes, you exalted me above those who rose against me; you rescued me from the man of violence. ▤ 

Ps 116:6, 8  The Lord preserves the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me. ▤ 8For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling; … ▤ 

The deliverance spoken may well have been from enemies (cf. v. 11).

Ps 129:1-4  “Greatlyq have they afflicted me from my youth”— let Israel now say— 2“Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth, yet they have not prevailed against me. 3The plowers plowed upon my back; they made long their furrows.” 4The Lord is righteous; he has cut the cords of the wicked. ▤ 

q Or Often; also verse 2

Ps 138:7  Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me. ▤ 

Isa 63:9  In all their affliction he was afflicted,r and the angel of his presence saved them; in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old. ▤ 

r Or he did not afflict

This is probably speaking of the Israelite’s deliverance from the Egyptians.

Acts 12:11  When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.” ▤ 

2Cor 1:10  He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. ▤ 

It is not known to what “deadly peril” Paul was referring; enemies are certainly a strong possibility.

Further promises of God saving his people from enemies

See also:

Deut 23:14  Because the Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you and to give up your enemies before you, therefore your camp must be holy, so that he may not see anything indecent among you and turn away from you. ▤ 

2Ki 20:6b  I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and I will defend this city for my own sake and for my servant David’s sake. ▤ 

Isa 49:25  For thus says the Lord: “Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken, and the prey of the tyrant be rescued, for I will contend with those who contend with you, and I will save your children. ▤ 

Jer 15:20-21  And I will make you to this people a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you, but they shall not prevail over you, for I am with you to save you and deliver you, declares the Lord. 21I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked, and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless. ▤ 

Jer 39:16-17  Go, and say to Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will fulfill my words against this city for harm and not for good, and they shall be accomplished before you on that day. 17But I will deliver you on that day, declares the Lord, and you shall not be given into the hand of the men of whom you are afraid. ▤ 

Ezek 34:12b, 27  I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. ▤ 27And the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase, and they shall be secure in their land. And they shall know that I am the Lord, when I break the bars of their yoke, and deliver them from the hand of those who enslaved them. ▤ 

  • Promise of imminent salvation:

Isa 56:1  Thus says the Lord: “Keep justice, and do righteousness, for soon my salvation will come, and my deliverance be revealed. ▤ 

Pray for persecuted Christians

God Is Revealed in Saving His People

See also:

God’s saving of his people makes known his salvation to the nations

Note that throughout the following subsections there are a number of verses which speak of God’s saving of his people making known to the nations either God or various things about him (e.g. 1Ki 8:59-60 ; 2Ki 19:19, 35 ; 1Sam 17:46 ).

Ps 98:1-3  Oh sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. 2The Lord has made known his salvation; he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations. 3He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. ▤ 

God’s working of salvation for his people is referred to in each of these three verses.

Isa 52:9-10  Break forth together into singing, you waste places of Jerusalem, for the Lord has comforted his people; he has redeemed Jerusalem. 10The Lord has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. ▤ 

This speaks of future deliverance for Jerusalem, in which God would demonstrate his holy power, causing all nations to see his salvation (v. 10).

Isa 49:26  I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh, and they shall be drunk with their own blood as with wine. Then all flesh shall know that I am the Lord your Savior, and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. ▤ 

In conjunction with making known his salvation, by saving his people God makes known to all nations that he is the Savior of his people.

Ps 67:1-2  May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah 2that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations. ▤ 

The reference to God’s “saving power” in v. 2, suggests that the request for God’s favor in v. 1 has his saving of his people at least partially in view. Thus his “way” (v. 2) that such favor to his people would make known throughout the earth would include his salvation. This is also implied by his “saving power” being spoken of in conjunction with his “way”.

  • All nations will see God’s salvation in Jesus Christ:

Luke 3:6  … and all flesh shall see the salvation of God. ▤ 

This verse quotes from Isaiah 40:5, applying it to the salvation that would come through Jesus Christ.

God’s saving of his people makes known that he is the Lord – the only God

See also:

Ex 6:6-7  Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment. 7I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. ▤ 

By redeeming Israel out of Egypt with mighty acts (v. 6) and taking them as his own (v. 7a), Israel would know that he was the Lord their God (v. 7b). Deuteronomy 4:34-35 below has similar teaching.

Deut 4:32-35  For ask now of the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and ask from one end of heaven to the other, whether such a great thing as this has ever happened or was ever heard of. 33Did any people ever hear the voice of a god speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and still live? 34Or has any god ever attempted to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, and by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great deeds of terror, all of which the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? 35To you it was shown, that you might know that the Lord is God; there is no other besides him. ▤ 

1Ki 20:13, 21, 28-30a  And behold, a prophet came near to Ahab king of Israel and said, “Thus says the Lord, Have you seen all this great multitude? Behold, I will give it into your hand this day, and you shall know that I am the Lord.” ▤ 21And the king of Israel went out and struck the horses and chariots, and struck the Syrians with a great blow. ▤ 28And a man of God came near and said to the king of Israel, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Because the Syrians have said, “The Lord is a god of the hills but he is not a god of the valleys,” therefore I will give all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the Lord.’” 29And they encamped opposite one another seven days. Then on the seventh day the battle was joined. And the people of Israel struck down of the Syrians 100,000 foot soldiers in one day. 30And the rest fled into the city of Aphek, and the wall fell upon 27,000 men who were left. ▤ 

Ezek 28:24  And for the house of Israel there shall be no more a brier to prick or a thorn to hurt them among all their neighbors who have treated them with contempt. Then they will know that I am the Lord God. ▤ 

1Ki 8:59-60  Let these words of mine, with which I have pleaded before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, and may he maintain the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel, as each day requires, 60that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other. ▤ 

Solomon’s request encompassed God saving Israel from her enemies.

2Ki 19:19, 35-36  So now, O Lord our God, save us, please, from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O Lord, are God alone.” ▤ 35And that night the angel of the Lord went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies. 36Then Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went home and lived at Nineveh. ▤ 

2Chr 33:11-13  Therefore the Lord brought upon them the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria, who captured Manasseh with hooks and bound him with chains of bronze and brought him to Babylon. 12And when he was in distress, he entreated the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. 13He prayed to him, and God was moved by his entreaty and heard his plea and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God. ▤ 

Isa 43:12  I declared and saved and proclaimed, when there was no strange god among you; and you are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and I am God. ▤ 

The fulfillment of God’s declaration of what was to come and his salvation would affirm that he is “the only God” (NLT; cf. AMP, NIV).

Joel 2:26-27  You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame. 27You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God and there is none else. And my people shall never again be put to shame. ▤ 

  • Israel’s defeat of the Philistines would make known to the whole world that there was a God in Israel:

1Sam 17:46  This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, … ▤ 

God’s saving of his people reveals God’s great power

See also:

Ex 14:30-31  Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. 31Israel saw the great power that the Lord used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses. ▤ 

Ps 67:1-2  May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah 2that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations. ▤ 

Ps 106:8  Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make known his mighty power. ▤ 

Jer 32:20-21  You have shown signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, and to this day in Israel and among all mankind, and have made a name for yourself, as at this day. 21You brought your people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs and wonders, with a strong hand and outstretched arm, and with great terror. ▤ 

God had gained renown among all nations for the powerful “signs and wonders” he had performed, notably in saving his people out of Egypt.

Isa 52:9-10  Break forth together into singing, you waste places of Jerusalem, for the Lord has comforted his people; he has redeemed Jerusalem. 10The Lord has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. ▤ 

This speaks of God’s coming salvation of Jerusalem. The term “his holy arm” (v. 10) refers to God’s holy power, here revealed in his salvation.

Ex 34:10  And he said, “Behold, I am making a covenant. Before all your people I will do marvels, such as have not been created in all the earth or in any nation. And all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the Lord, for it is an awesome thing that I will do with you. ▤ 

The reference appears to be primarily to driving out enemy nations before Israel in the Promised Land (vv. 11), in a sense saving his people from them – and demonstrating his awesome power.

1Sam 17:46-47, 50-52  This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, 47and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hand.” ▤ 50So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. There was no sword in the hand of David. 51Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. 52And the men of Israel and Judah rose with a shout and pursued the Philistines as far as Gaths and the gates of Ekron, so that the wounded Philistines fell on the way from Shaaraim as far as Gath and Ekron. ▤ 

s Septuagint; Hebrew Gai

All those gathered would realize that it is not by human power that God saves (vv. 47, 50b), but by rather his own mighty power, as implied in v. 47 and subsequently demonstrated in vv. 50-52.

  • God’s restoration of his people made known among the nations that he has done great things for them:

Ps 126:1-2  When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. 2Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” ▤ 

God’s saving of his people reveals God’s glory

See also:

Ex 16:6-8  So Moses and Aaron said to all the people of Israel, “At evening you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, 7and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your grumbling against the Lord. For what are we, that you grumble against us?” 8And Moses said, “When the Lord gives you in the evening meat to eat and in the morning bread to the full, because the Lord has heard your grumbling that you grumble against him—what are we? Your grumbling is not against us but against the Lord.” ▤ 

God would miraculously provide meat and bread for the Israelites in the desert (v. 8) – saving them from perishing – thereby displaying his glory (v. 7). It would also underline the fact that it was he who had delivered them out of Egypt (v. 6).

Ps 57:3, 5  He will send from heaven and save me; he will put to shame him who tramples on me. Selah God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness! ▤ 5Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth! ▤ 

In v. 5 David appears to be meaning that God’s glory would be made apparent throughout the earth by God’s deliverance of him from powerful enemies (v. 3).

Ps 85:9  Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land. ▤ 

The verse may mean that on accomplishing their salvation, God’s glorious presence – God himself – would remain with his people in the land (cf. GNT). Alternatively, or additionally, it could be speaking of God’s glory being displayed by effecting his people’s salvation. As such the verse would pertain to the theme of this subsection.

Isa 40:3-5  A voice cries:t “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. 5And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” ▤ 

t Or A voice of one crying

This initially refers to God’s deliverance of the Jews from captivity in Babylon, with vv. 3-4 speaking of the preparation for God’s way in which his people would return. It is also understood to apply to God’s redemption that would come through Jesus Christ (cf. Luke 3:4-6).

Isa 44:23  Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done it; shout, O depths of the earth; break forth into singing, O mountains, O forest, and every tree in it! For the Lord has redeemed Jacob, and will be glorifiedu in Israel. ▤ 

u Or will display his beauty

The latter part of the verse may well speak of God displaying his glory by his redemption of Israel (cf. NASB, NCV, NIV).

  • What God has done for believers through Jesus Christ, is to the praise of his glory:

Eph 1:11-14  In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is the guaranteev of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it,w to the praise of his glory. ▤ 

v Or down payment

w Or until God redeems his possession

The fact that what God has done for believers through Jesus Christ is for “the praise of his glory” (vv. 12b, 14b) indicates that what he has done exhibits or reflects his glory. Note that the final clause (v. 14b) may have in view God sealing believers with the Holy Spirit (v. 13b), as well as them acquiring their inheritance (v. 14a), being “to the praise of his glory”.

God’s saving of his people evidences God’s love and faithfulness

See also:

Most of the following verses do not specifically say that God’s saving of his people actually shows his love and faithfulness, but they do at least correlate it with one or both of these characteristics.

Ps 17:7  Wondrously showx your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand. ▤ 

x Or Distinguish me by

Ps 40:10  I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation. ▤ 

The psalmist asserts that he tells others of God’s salvation, along with God’s faithfulness and love, as manifested in his salvation.

Ps 57:3  He will send from heaven and save me; he will put to shame him who tramples on me. Selah God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness! ▤ 

Ps 98:3  He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. ▤ 

Zec 8:7-8  Thus says the Lord of hosts: behold, I will save my people from the east country and from the west country, 8and I will bring them to dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in faithfulness and in righteousness. ▤ 

  • God’s saving of his people is in indicative of his mercy:

Hos 1:7  But I will have mercy on the house of Judah, and I will save them by the Lord their God. I will not save them by bow or by sword or by war or by horses or by horsemen. ▤ 

God’s saving of his people shows God’s holiness and righteousness . . .

See also:

Note that God’s saving of his people shows God’s holiness in part at least in that it demonstrates his faithfulness to them and his righteousness.

Ezek 28:25  Thus says the Lord God: When I gather the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, and manifest my holiness in them in the sight of the nations, then they shall dwell in their own land that I gave to my servant Jacob. ▤ 

This likely means that God would manifest his holiness in his people by gathering from the nations (cf. CEV, GNT, NCV, NIV), i.e. by rescuing them from exile.

Ezek 39:27  … when I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them from their enemies’ lands, and through them have vindicated my holiness in the sight of many nations. ▤ 

Ps 98:1-2  Oh sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. 2The Lord has made known his salvation; he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations. ▤ 

1Sam 12:7-8, 11  Now therefore stand still that I may plead with you before the Lord concerning all the righteous deeds of the Lord that he performed for you and for your fathers. 8When Jacob went into Egypt, and the Egyptians oppressed them,y then your fathers cried out to the Lord and the Lord sent Moses and Aaron, who brought your fathers out of Egypt and made them dwell in this place. ▤ 11And the Lord sent Jerubbaal and Barakz and Jephthah and Samuel and delivered you out of the hand of your enemies on every side, and you lived in safety. ▤ 

y Septuagint; Hebrew lacks and the Egyptians oppressed them

z Septuagint, Syriac; Hebrew Bedan

The reference to God’s acts of salvation (vv. 8, 11) as his “righteous deeds” (v. 7) implies that they show his righteousness.

Ps 65:5  By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas; … ▤ 

Ps 129:4  The Lord is righteous; he has cut the cords of the wicked. ▤ 

. . . God’s righteousness is closely associated with his salvation

God’s righteousness is often associated even correlated with his salvation, for in bringing salvation God is doing what is right; his salvation is a product of his righteousness.

Isa 51:5-6, 8  My righteousness draws near, my salvation has gone out, and my arms will judge the peoples; the coastlands hope for me, and for my arm they wait. 6Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and they who dwell in it will die in like manner;a but my salvation will be forever, and my righteousness will never be dismayed. ▤ 8For the moth will eat them up like a garment, and the worm will eat them like wool; but my righteousness will be forever, and my salvation to all generations. ▤ 

a Or will die like gnats

Isa 59:16-17  He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then his own arm brought him salvation, and his righteousness upheld him. 17He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak. ▤ 

The clause “his righteousness upheld him” (v. 16b) may speak of God’s righteousness spurring him on, in affecting salvation.

Ps 71:15  My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge. ▤ 

Isa 1:27  Zion shall be redeemed by justice, and those in her who repent, by righteousness. ▤ 

This may be meaning that God in his justice and righteousness will redeem the people of Jerusalem (cf. GNT, NLT), hence its inclusion here. Alternatively it may mean that God will redeem the people when they themselves repent and then act justly and righteously (cf. AMP, CEV, NCV, NIrV).

Isa 63:1  Who is this who comes from Edom, in crimsoned garments from Bozrah, he who is splendid in his apparel, marching in the greatness of his strength? “It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save.” ▤ 

Isa 45:8  Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit; let the earth cause them both to sprout; I the Lord have created it. ▤ 

The last clause indicates that such salvation and righteousness is produced on earth by God.

Isa 46:13  I bring near my righteousness; it is not far off, and my salvation will not delay; I will put salvation in Zion, for Israel my glory. ▤ 

Pray for persecuted Christians