“He sent from above, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, From those who hated me, For they were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my calamity, But the LORD was my support. He also brought me out into a broad place; He delivered me because He delighted in me.” Psalm 18:16-19 (NKJV)
David explains in this passage that God has God delivered Him. The picture that David paints is pretty neat. David pictures himself being overwhelmed in water about to drown. Then God reached down, grabbed David and lifted him up out of the water. He saved David from being overwhelmed. David admits that his enemy was too strong for him to defeat. If God hadn’t come along and delivered him David would have died. David then confesses that throughout this hard time God was his support. He goes on to say that after God had lifted him up, He put David in a broad place. This basically pictures a wide place where David doesn’t have to worry about falling off the side. God delivered David.
The stories of God delivering His people in Scripture are many. There are the favorites like Daniel in the lion’s den. There is also the three Hebrew children from the fiery furnace, Peter from prison and Paul from any number of things. As great as all of those stories are, I don’t want to focus on any of these stories. The reason is that I think when we focus on those we tend to get a faulty view of what it means for God to deliver us. While God may always deliver us, He doesn’t always do it in that way.
“At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. And I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!” (2 Timothy 4:16-18 NKJV)
Paul was in a Roman prison writing to his young protégé Timothy. He writes that when he gave his first defense no one but the Lord stood by him. He says that God had delivered him time and time again. He goes ahead to so that he fully expected that God would continue to deliver Him. Yet, Paul was beheaded some time after this. He never left a Roman prison.
Here is the million-dollar question. Was Paul wrong about God going to deliver him? Did God fail to deliver him? The answer to those questions is no. Paul wasn’t wrong and God didn’t fail. One thing we have to realize is that God doesn’t always deliver us in the way that we think He should. In this case, Paul wasn’t delivered from the sword. Instead, Paul was delivered by the sword.
When Paul was beheaded, he was delivered from this life and all the hardships he had faced. He was no longer in prison. They couldn’t torture him anymore. Paul was at this point fully and completely delivered from his thorn in the flesh and from all the bad things that his enemies wanted to do to him.
I had a discussion with a guy about the picture I used at the top of the post about whether or not this was a true statement. I told him that it was a true statement. It’s just that the way God defines “wonderful plan” might not quite be the American dream version of a “wonderful plan“.
Just as Scriptures are filled with stories of God miraculously delivering people from certain death, it is also filled with stories of people who faithfully served God, trusted God and were killed anyway. Look at what we find in Hebrews 11
“Women received their dead raised to life again. And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented– of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.” (Hebrews 11:35-38 NKJV)
In the first verse, we see the contrast that we don’t often understand. Some received their dead raised to life again while others were tortured and died. Why were some raised and others weren’t? Why was Peter delivered from the sword while James was delivered through the sword (Acts 12:1-11)? Why was Paul delivered out of so many attempts on his life but delivered through it this time?
The honest answer is I don’t know. However, I do know one thing. When James and Paul stood before Jesus in heaven, they didn’t feel that they had gotten the short end of the stick. Those that Hebrews 11 says were delivered through the trials didn’t feel they were shortchanged by it. I think our ability to accept this comes down to understand the last part of Paul’s statement, “…And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!”
We have to remember that our ultimate deliverance will never come in this life. There is a heavenly kingdom coming and that is where our ultimate deliverance comes. I guess what it comes down to is this. God will deliver us in this life as long as He has work for us to do. When our work is done, God will then deliver us from this life where we will be with Him for all eternity.
The last part of what we see in our original text is great. Why did God do all of this for David? Did God do all of this for David because He had to, no. Did God do all of this for David because David figured out the right words to use in a prayer that twisted God’s arm till He had no choice, no. God got actively involved in this hard time of David’s life because He delighted in David.
God does these things for us for the exact same reason. Think about how great it is that the God of the Bible delights in us. That is such an amazing thought. Look at what Charles Spurgeon said.
“Why Jehovah should delight in us is an question without an answer, and a mystery which angels cannot solve; but that he does delight in his beloved is certain, and is the fruitful root of favours as numerous as they are precious. Believer, sit down, and inwardly digest the instructive sentence now before us, and learn to view the uncaused love of God as the cause of all the lovingkindness of which we are the partakers.”
God delights in His people and will deliver them.
 C. H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David,