The primary purpose of the Old Testament was to provide a written record of God’s promises regarding what He would one day do to save the world through Messiah. A secondary purpose of these writings was to simultaneously provide a record of God’s faithful dealings with ancient Israel to complement and give context to His plan for Messiah. The following verse is an example of how God could contribute toward the primary purpose and the secondary purpose in the very same verse.
God is to us a God of deliverances;
And to God the Lord belong escapes from death.
– Psalm 68:20
Like so many of the psalms, this one is attributed to David – a man who certainly knew something about being delivered from death by the Lord. In the following passage, a young David describes to King Saul how God had delivered him from death in the past…and would do so again with the giant Goliath:
But David said to Saul, “Your servant was tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him. “Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God.”
– 1 Samuel 17:34-36
On his path to the throne of Israel, and even afterward, David experienced many more deliverances from death. Therefore, David was speaking for himself personally as well as for the nation of Israel generally when he testified that their God had the willingness and ability to deliver His people from death.
For this reason, practically all of Jesus’ followers lost hope in Him when He was crucified. They knew God could deliver Jesus from crucifixion, and they knew that God had previously worked through Jesus’ life in the miracles He performed. Therefore, when Jesus died, they glumly accepted the idea that God had chosen not to deliver Jesus from death. But…the deliverance God had planned for Jesus was of a sort they had never seen before. This “escape from death” was greater than any David knew.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord, sometimes when it seems You’re late, it just means You’re doing something greater…(this is where you remain quiet to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.
(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)