February 17

Divine Deliverance

Bible Reading: Colossians 1:13, 2:13-15; Hebrews 2:14-15

In August 2010 a large cave-in in a mine in Chile entombed thirty three miners 2300 feet underground.  The world anxiously waited for seventeen days as exploratory bore holes were drilled to learn whether any of the miners were still alive.  Once that was ascertained, extensive rescue efforts began.  Meanwhile the miners tried to escape on their own.  But the mandated escape ladders had never been installed.  So the duty shift supervisor gathered the men into a secure room, then organized them and their meager resources to ensure their long term survival.  The room was only 540 square feet in size and had but two benches.  Food supplies were limited and each man lost an average of 18 pounds by the time they were discovered.  Because of the high heat and humidity the men were always covered with sweat.  They would venture into the tunnels to find ventilation.  Sanitation was a problem.  Health problems ensued over time—two men suffered from silicosis, one developed pneumonia, others suffered from eye and teeth problems.  Plans were undertaken to rescue the men.  Nearly every Chilean government agency, NASA and more than a dozen international corporations were involved.  A large hole was drilled (large enough to winch down a rescue capsule) and a rescue worker was sent down in the capsule to the workers.  Soon afterwards the first miner made his way to the surface.  After sixty-nine days underground, in front of a TV audience estimated at more than one billion viewers, thirty-three miners were brought safely to the surface.  After winching the last trapped miner to the surface, the rescue workers, still underground, held up a sign for the TV cameras.  The sign read “Mission Accomplished Chile.”  On the surface people cried, hugged, and cheered.  It was a remarkable rescue.  But every believer in Christ has experienced, in salvation, a deliverance of far greater importance and proportion.

The term translated “domain,” in Colossians 1:13 speaks of “the power of one whose commands must be submitted to.”  The unbeliever is a person bound in sin to “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2; Cf. 1 John 5:19; 2 Corinthians 4:4).  Satan’s domain is one of spiritual “darkness” in which he terrorizes his captives (Cf. Acts 26:18; Ephesians 5:11, 6:12).  He is glad for the miserable and harsh enslavement of the lost, anticipating their damnation in “the outer darkness” (Matthew 8:12).  He hides their sole means of escape to direct lost souls in a broad way leading to a disastrous end (Cf. Matthew 7:13).  There is, from the “domain of darkness,” no human means of escape.

The term translated “delivered” means “to rescue from.”  Jesus, “the Deliverer” (Cf. Romans 11:26), represents the sole means of rescue for sin-captives.  He has done all that is necessary to accomplish their deliverance.  “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery” (Hebrews 2:14-15).  Through His death on the cross Jesus has worked to accomplish the greatest of all rescue operations. Those rescuers of the Chilean miners were caring enough, wise enough, and resourceful enough to get the job done.  Likewise God purposed to intercede according to His love, power, and wisdom (Cf. John 3:16; 1 Corinthians 1:24). God not only intervened—that would be reason enough to praise and thank Him—but He did so at great cost to Himself, though we, as sin rebels, were in no way deserving of His rescuing work (Cf. Romans 5:8).

The Chilean miners were transferred from a dark and foreboding place to the light of the sun and the warm embrace of family members and friends.  The believer has been delivered out of the domain of darkness and brought into a “kingdom,” “a sphere of God’s rule,” which is characterized by love (Cf. Colossians 1:13).  The “domain” was according to the nature and character of the devil.  He is the father of lies, the adversary, the destroyer—and that is the character of his domain.  Christ is all loving, all wise, and all powerful—He reigns according to His benevolent nature.  His subjects are glad to love and serve Him (Cf. 2 Corinthians 5:15).

If you have not trusted in Jesus Christ you need to be rescued.  Your sin demands punishment.  Left unresolved, the darkness of your present experience, will be nothing compared to the eternal darkness which awaits when you pass from this life (Cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:9).  You are like those miners, in the depths of an inescapable tomb, from which Christ alone can save you (Cf. Acts 16:31; Romans 10:9).  The Chilean miners were thankful and rejoicing when they were finally brought to the surface.  The believer in Christ has sufficient reason in his rescue from sin to forevermore abound in thanksgiving to God (Cf. Colossians 1:12, 2:7)!

Lord Jesus, all praise, glory, and honor belongs to You for You’ve worked to accomplish the greatest of all rescues.  We were trapped by our own sins in an evil and foreboding place, but by Your grace, love, and mercy You’ve brought us into the light!  May we now walk in the light even as You are in the light that Your gospel message might shine forth through us!

I was sinking deep in sin

Far from the peaceful shore

Very deeply stained within

Sinking to rise no more

But the master of the sea

Heard my despairing cry,

From the waters lifted me

Now safe am I

Love lifted me! Love lifted me!

When nothing else could help

Love lifted me

Love lifted me! Love lifted me!

When nothing else could help

Love lifted me

Author: looking2jesus13

Having served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, in Astoria, Oregon, for almost three decades, my wife’s cancer diagnosis led to my retirement and subsequent move to Heppner to be near our two grandchildren. I divide my time between caring for Laura and working as a part time hospice chaplain and spending time with family and spoiling my chocolate lab.

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