TBU: The Bible Unpacked: Intermediate 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 examples of God saving his people and promises of him continuing to do so.

In reading this chapter about God’s saving his people, 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.

God’s Capacity to Save His People

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

[Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to King Nebuchadnezzar:] If you throw us into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from the furnace. He will save us from your power, O king.   Daniel 3:17  NCV™

Nothing can prevent the Lord from delivering, whether by many or by a few.   1 Samuel 14:6b  NET

God has mighty power to save his people

The Lord your God is with you; the mighty One will save you.   Zephaniah 3:17a  NCV™

Then with his mighty power he led them out [of captivity in Egypt], …   Acts 13:17b  CEV

God does not need to use any other means but himself

[God:] But I will show pity to the people of Judah. I will save them, but not by using bows or swords, horses or horsemen, or weapons of war. I, the Lord their God, will save them.   Hosea 1:7  NCV™

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

God Saves His People – from All Things

God is the Savior of his people

[David, to God:] Guide me in your truth, and teach me, my God, my Savior. I trust you all day long.   Psalms 25:5  NCV™

God saves his people out of all troubles

[David:] I sought the Lord’s help and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. 5Those who look to him for help are happy; their faces are not ashamed. 6This oppressed man cried out and the Lord heard; he saved him from all his troubles. … 17The godly cry out and the Lord hears; he saves them from all their troubles. … 19The godly face many dangers, but the Lord saves them from each one of them.   Psalms 34:4-6, 17, 19  NET

[Paul:] However, the Lord stood by me and gave me strength so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the gentiles could hear it. I was rescued out of a lion’s mouth. 18The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will take me safely to his heavenly kingdom. Glory belongs to him forever and ever! Amen.   2 Timothy 4:17-18  ISV

Christ had rescued Paul from physical danger (v. 17) – in fact he had done so many times (cf. 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 to his heavenly kingdom”.

God sets his people free from things that imprison

[A psalmist, to God:] Lord, I am your servant; I am your servant and the son of your female servant. You have freed me from my chains.   Psalms 116:16  NCV™

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

[Moses, to the Israelites:] Or has any god ever tried to come and take one nation away from another for himself? The Lord your God used his mighty hand and powerful arm to do this for you in Egypt. He did this using plagues, miraculous signs, amazing things, and war. He did his great and awe-inspiring deeds in front of you. 35You were shown these things so that you would know that the Lord is God. There is no other god.   Deuteronomy 4:34-35  GW

God Helps His People against Enemies

God consistently helps his people

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble.   Psalms 46:1  GW

[Paul:] I have experienced help from God to this day …   Acts 26:22a  NET

God helps his people by delivering them from enemies

The Lord helps them and rescues them; he rescues them from evil men and delivers them, for they seek his protection.   Psalms 37:40  NET

[The writer, to believers:] So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, and I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”   Hebrews 13:6  NET

For God fights for his people, giving victory over enemies

[Jahaziel, a Levite]: “Pay attention, all you people of Judah, residents of Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Don’t be afraid and don’t panic because of this huge army! For the battle is not yours, but God’s. … 17You will not fight in this battle. Take your positions, stand, and watch the Lord deliver you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Don’t be afraid and don’t panic! Tomorrow march out toward them; the Lord is with you!’” … 22When they began to shout and praise, the Lord suddenly attacked the Ammonites, Moabites, and men from Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.29All the kingdoms of the surrounding lands were afraid of God when they heard how the Lord had fought against Israel’s enemies.   2 Chronicles 20:15b, 17, 22, 29  NET

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

[Paul, to believers:] What then shall we say about these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? … 35Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will trouble, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? … 37No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us!   Romans 8:31, 35, 37  NET

Verse 31b implies that if God is for us then no one can effectively oppose us. In all adversity we have complete victory through Christ (v. 37).

God’s people are enabled to overcome Satan

[John, to believers:] I have written to you, young people, that you are strong, and the word of God resides in you, and you have conquered the evil one.   1 John 2:14b  NET

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

Pray for persecuted Christians