Sermon: My Deliverer

Jesus is perhaps in the wilderness and hears the whole world at this point cry out “My deliverer is coming, my deliverer is standing by.”

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Today is a little unusual because the topic doesn’t relate to last week’s. What it does do, though, is bounce off from one classic Christian song to another. Last week’s was titled, “Get on Your Knees and Fight Like a Man,” after an old Petra song. Today is from one of Rich Mullins’ last songs called, “My Deliverer.”

The Rich Mullins song is one of the most powerful songs ever and unfortunately has gone by the wayside. A lot of Christian songs, due to the way Christian radio is done, unfortunately, do that.

If you have your Bibles, you can turn with me to 2 Samuel 22, and like we did a couple of weeks ago, I’m not going to read it upfront because it’s a rather lengthy passage and I’m going to skim through it in small chunks. What’s interesting about this is that it is in the Bible twice. About a month ago, I referenced this same passage in a different sermon but read it from Psalm 18. I kind of had to hem and haw about whether or not to use Samuel or Psalm today, but I chose Samuel because I wanted to get a little bit of context. And when I mean little, I mean little.

If your Bible is open to it, verse 1 simply reads: “David sang to the Lord the words of this song when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.”

So this was after two incidents–the first being an incident where Israel was being punished for Saul’s violence against the Gibeonites. This was after Saul had died and David became king, yet the Lord was still punishing Israel for Saul’s violence. So David gave justice to the Gibeonites. The second incident was when Israel was at war with the Philistines again, and as you know from the story of David and Goliath, there were giants in the Philistine army. Only this time, it became harder for David to fight because he wasn’t as young as he used to be. So this was his last battle. And in the course of the battles, there were four incidents where his men fought giants and won.

So David, as you can imagine, wrote this psalm in praise.

When times are tough–and I know I keep coming to this subject, but it’s so important. When times are tough, God comes through. God does not always side-step problems for us. Sometimes, he might. Sometimes, we don’t know what calamity may have come our way, if not for the grace of God. Then, other times, we have to go through the fiery furnace as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. But there’s that fourth person in that fire with us.

Like them, and like the life of David, we can find the faithful hand of God and His deliverance through it all.

As I said, if this sounds familiar, I briefly mentioned this not too long ago in a sermon based on a different Psalm. So let’s take a look at verses 2-7:

2 He said: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
3 My God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation.
He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—from violent people you save me.

4 “I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and have been saved from my enemies.
5 The waves of death swirled about me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
6 The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me.

7 “In my distress I called to the Lord; I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears.

I’m going to highlight some words that are in just verses 2 and 3, and if you’re the type to highlight in your Bibles, you might want to do so. If you have a different translation, the words might be a little harder to find. But look at these.

The Lord is my:







The horn of my salvation (the strength or power of my salvation–because it does not come from us, so He Is our salvation)


That’s a lot packed in just two short verses. And it’s easy to say amen, but it’s even easier when we slow down to take a look at these words. The sermon is titled, “My Deliverer” but as you can see, there are a lot of words here that God is, but I think Deliverer might be the common theme here, or the central name of God in this psalm.

Before I get into these other words, the word, “deliverer” is a Biblical, almost Christianese word. We don’t use it here unless you’re talking about pizza or Uber Eats. It means, when it comes to God, “to set free” as “a rescue from bondage or danger.” The word most often translated “deliver” is natsal, meaning originally, perhaps, “to draw out.”

And in the Old Testament, they would praise God by giving him names that described him. So they’d start with Jehovah–which means, “My Lord”–then follow that with a name such as we read and highlighted. So here, they’d praise God by calling Him Jehovah Mephalti–The Lord, My Deliverer.

And they did this not only as a way to praise him but also to remind themselves of who God is. These are attributes of God. It isn’t just what he can do, and maybe–like our sermon last week–if we beg and plead and make a lot of noise we wake him up in the middle of the night and he begrudgingly agrees to appease our request to shut us up.


God is our deliverer. God is our fortress, God is our salvation. It’s not just what God can do, it’s who he is, and therefore it’s what he does out of his love.

Matthew Barrett, in his book, None Greater, said: “The perfections of God are not like a pie, as if we sliced up the pie into different pieces, loving being 10 percent, holiness 15 percent, omnipotence 7 percent, and so on. Unfortunately, this is how many Christians talk about God today. … Some even go further, believing some attributes to be more important than others” (Barrett, None Greater, 72–73).

A more appropriate illustration (though none are flawless) would be to say that God’s attributes are similar to light shining through a stained-glass window.

“God is one, and his attributes are identical with one another. Yet when God’s undivided essence is revealed to humanity, it shines in various ways. Nevertheless, it is the same, single ray of light that radiates” (Barrett, None Greater, 81). Attempting to understand God is difficult and takes work because there isn’t anyone like him.

I could go on and on with that passage, and even a sermon series on all of these names, but let’s skip down to verse 17, and we’ll read quite a few verses from there, but we’ll cut them up into smaller bite-sized chunks.

Let’s take a look at 17-19 first:

17 “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.

18 He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.

19 They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support.

You’ll notice that David was at a point where he couldn’t do anything. He was probably talking about facing the giants here. He gave it all he got, but David was older now, and weaker, and he didn’t have the strength or stamina to fight the way he did when he was young. We don’t know for sure how old he was here, but most would put him in his 60s–sorry everyone here. But, if you’re in your 60s, you’ll probably relate.

In fact, the first of the four battles mentioned in the previous chapter was the last battle David fought. He died right around the age of 70, so you can imagine his health was deteriorating at this time, and his men said to him, “This is it, this is your last battle. You’re too old to fight anymore.” And David consented. I think he knew it was time, himself. Maybe he just needed that nudge.

But God came through. Yes, David’s army fought off those giants, and The Bible names the names of the men who did. But David does not attribute the success of the battle to those men, he attributes the success of the battles to God. Because if it were not for God, they could have–and probably would have–been defeated.

But why did God come through for them? Why did God not just let the battle rage, and sit back with some popcorn and watch from Heaven with the angels like it was a football game?

Because of his nature, yes. It’s who he is, he is our deliverer. But why is he our deliverer? Who does he deliver?

Verses 20-30:

20 He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.

21 “The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.

22 For I have kept the ways of the Lord; I am not guilty of turning from my God.

23 All his laws are before me; I have not turned away from his decrees.

24 I have been blameless before him and have kept myself from sin.

25 The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to my cleanness in his sight.

26 “To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless,

27 To the pure you show yourself pure, but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.

28 You save the humble, but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them low.

29 You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light.

30 With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.

God is the deliverer or rescuer of His children. The people he delights in.

I know as much as anyone how it’s hard sometimes to think of God delighting in us. It’s hard to imagine how we can be worthy of God doing anything for us–answering any prayer–like we talked about last week. Are we worthy? No.

But in God’s love and in his grace, he sees us as being worthy. He is the horn of our salvation. In other words, He knows as much as we do that we are not worthy, and so He makes us worthy. Our righteousness is made possible by Him.

I was thinking about this the other day. And I was thinking about someone who has a past, and how easy, almost joyful it is to overlook that past when you see who they are now. And I think that’s how God sees us. It’s tough to forgive someone who isn’t sorry, who isn’t going to change–you know, you wish they could change, but they just refuse to, and so they’re the same people they were 25 years ago.

In fact, I know people who literally refuse to change. And they laugh about it, like, they’re proud of being jerks. And it’s the other person’s fault for calling them out on it. Typical narcissism. It’s hard to forgive narcissists.

But when someone is repentant, and they’ve turned a new leaf, and they deeply desire to become a new person, and they’ve demonstrated that–it’s literally delightful to forgive them. And we hold the power to forgive them.

God’s horn of salvation is the same way. God holds the power to forgive us. And when we come to Him, it is His delight to forgive us and see us in a new light.

Enduring Word says:

We might say that David simply believed what the prophet Nathan told him in 2 Samuel 12:13: The LORD also has put away your sin. David knew he was a forgiven man, and that the cleanness of his hands was because God cleansed them, not because they had never been dirtied.

Boice Bible Commentary says “If we were to remind David of his sin with Bathsheba, he would claim it as an illustration and a proof of this principle since he suffered in a variety of ways as a consequence of that great sin. But even though that happened, just as similar transgressions are committed by us all, on the whole he was nevertheless a man after God’s own heart and was greatly blessed by God.”

Charles Spurgeon said: “Before God the man after God’s own heart was a humble sinner, but before his slanderers he could with an unblushing face speak of the ‘cleanness of his hands’ and the righteousness of his life.”

Going back to 2 Samuel, verses 31-37 say:

31 “As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.

32 For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God?

33 It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.

34 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights.

35 He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze.

36 You make your saving help my shield; your help has made me great.

37 You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way.

You’ll notice David goes from talking about himself to talking about The Lord. All the while, David was bragging on God, but in the previous set of verses, David was praising God because he rescues the righteous. Here, he focuses on the goodness of God rather than on the righteousness of man. He focuses on God’s character rather than on man’s character.

He reiterates God’s love for His own people and God’s care for His own people. His deliverance for His own people.

You’ll notice in the first few verses, that we were given God’s character–his attributes–nouns. Here, we are given verbs. These are the things God our Deliverer–Jehovah Mephalti–will do.

He arms me with strength and keeps my way secure;

He enables me to stand on the heights. You’ve probably heard of the “Mountaintop” experience. I remember when we went to Yellowstone and the beauty of the views from the mountaintops. God enables us to have moments like that in our spirit.

While we are on that mountain, God “Broadens the path beneath us, so that our ankles do not turn.” I gave this illustration before, but again after we visited Yellowstone, we went to Mt. Rushmore, and we saw the mountain goats just going up and down the backside of that mountain like it was nothing. We can’t do that so God broadens the path on the mountain to keep us safe–to keep us from spiritually falling.

At the beginning of this sermon, I mentioned how the title was inspired by a Rich Mullins song called, “My Deliverer.” The song was written just before he died, and so his band recorded it. And it is a magnificent song.

When you listen to the song, you can picture in the first verse Jesus as a child hearing the cries of those in spiritual captivity singing the promise, “My deliverer is coming, my deliverer is standing by.”

In the second verse, Jesus is perhaps in the wilderness and hears the whole world at this point cry out “My deliverer is coming, my deliverer is standing by.”

Later in the song, by use of just a key change, the singer is crying out personally for his deliverer, and by faith in God’s promise, looks ahead to that day when we will be delivered from this earth once and for all.

God is our deliverer.

Before he delivered the Hebrew slaves out of Egypt, he delivered them from the plagues. And one in particular had a stipulation–that they take the blood of a lamb and apply it to their doorposts. If they do not have the blood of a lamb, then they will not be saved. This is a foreshadowing of our deliverance from God’s judgment against those who do not have the blood of the Lamb in their hearts.

Our deliverance, whether it be in the here and now, in life’s many trials, or in the world to come, has to do with God’s holiness placed upon us through the horn of his salvation, and our acceptance of the blood of the lamb.


This is an updated edition of a post originally published on First Baptist Church of Watkins Glen

Featured Image by David Yonatan González Aburto from Pixabay

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