Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Deliver us from Evil

2 Tim. 4:9-22 (ESV)
Do your best to come to me soon. [10] For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. [11] Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry. [12] Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. [13] When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments. [14] Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. [15] Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. [16] At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! [17] 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. [18] The 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.
[19] Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. [20] Erastus remained at Corinth, and I left Trophimus, who was ill, at Miletus. [21] Do your best to come before winter. Eubulus sends greetings to you, as do Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brothers.
[22] The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.

The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. “Deliver me from evil.” Thus ends the Lord’s Prayer, unless you are protestant. Jesus ended his instruction on prayer there. We pray it. Perhaps, this leads us to question our faith, that is supposed to be powerful enough to move mountains. We ask him to deliver us from evil, but then…. Evil happens! Sometimes Evil goes by a pseudonym that also precedes the word happens. But then real evil does happen, one that scatological language does not suffice. No one really questions their faith when the kitchen sink leaks. Evil manifests itself in much harsher ways than that. We ask to be delivered from it. Then we lose our jobs, our children die, our parents die, war breaks out, our daughters get pregnant, our sons wind up in rehab, (of course the rehab part is a blessing.) Live a day in this world and you see evil. We sometimes wonder, why doesn’t God deliver us from this evil? He promises to answer prayer, he told me to pray this? Furthermore, we know like Paul, that our death too is imminent. What could be more evil than death? There is something more evil than death, death without faith, without eternal life in Christ.
Just look at what Paul endured in his life. He endured much evil: shipwrecks, beatings, being left for dead, riots, there is even speculation that he was divorced (and not unfounded). 1 Cor. 7:8 lays out that Paul was either divorced or widowed, neither of which sounds pleasant in my book. Yet Paul maintains that Jesus has delivered him from every evil deed, and will deliver him from every evil deed, and bring him safely to his kingdom. Paul says this expecting death by execution. How so? The devil will plague us with evil deeds, but he is only successful with his fiery darts when they rob us of faith in Jesus Christ. Paul never lost the faith. Jesus kept him, as he promises to keep all of us. Paul remained strong in the faith, even amidst torture and persecution. He died a faithful servant of the Lord. The evil deeds were unsuccessful. May they all be unsuccessful to those who believe in Christ. When we come out with our faith, Jesus has rescued us, delivered us from Evil.


Nancy said...

Deliver us from evil...how many times does the enemy grab that one and run with it! During the first gulf war, my family was in Germany. We had a family group that met at our home on Tuesday evenings and we took turns sitting out with the children during the meeting. One evening a precious little one of about five looked up after we had a prayer with the children and said these words, that were some of the hardest I ever heard..."I prayed that there wouldn't be a war, but we got one anyway...I said in Jesus' Name." What words could answer that sweet little face with tears? Even though a comforting hug and assurance that Jesus never leaves us alone in "difficult" situations was offered...the enemy was pleased to mock! Understanding that all will be given justice in the end is difficult enough for a 40 something to grasp...but, at the tender age of five?!? Only Jesus could bring the assurance needed.

Bror Erickson said...

People might be a little smarter in what they tell their kids about prayer.
It is this sort of naive teaching that ultimately destroys the faith of the young. "I even prayed in jesus Name" The evangelical crowd has begun to treat prayer as some way of magically manipulating God, and making him bound to ones own will. Jesus name, may as well say abracadabra, if this is you mentality.

Brigitte said...

Steve and I have this on our respective fridges.

"Know that whatever the path on which God will lead you--up the mountain or down the valley, through flowers or over thorns, on rocky terrain or on level ground, through darkness or through light, for a long time or a short time--that path leads through the kingdom of grace, and its end is salvation." (Walther)

Evil sometimes seems so thick and palpable, but it is limited.

Nancy said...

That is a great quotation!

Johannes 1:4-5
(Luther Bibel 1545)

4In ihm war das Leben, und das Leben war das Licht der Menschen.

5Und das Licht scheint in der Finsternis, und die Finsternis hat's nicht begriffen.

Finsternis...my favorite word for thick, palable evil.