By Loren Larson
2 Peter 2:9 – “The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.”
“As a believer, there should never come a time when we doubt the willingness of God to work out the affairs of this
life for us.”
THE CIRCUMSTANCE OF DESPAIR
As a believer, there should never come a time when we doubt the willingness of God to work out the affairs of this life for us. Having said the obvious, let me also say that there is never a time when the believer will be completely free from facing any manner of difficulties or untoward circumstances. This life is a challenge to our faith on every front. The believer is constantly tasked with choosing to
either believe God to resolve the issues at hand or to attempt to carry the burden of the circumstance in our own strength. Just a few days ago, I found myself facing this choice once again. I wish I could say that discouragement had not reared its ugly head and roared unbelief into my heart, but that would be far from the truth. At that moment, the situations I was facing seemed to be too hopeless, and I was feeling quite low regarding the possibilities of successfully traversing through the issues at hand. As is my custom, I sought the Lord in regard to the situation and turned to His Word for direction. In my daily reading, the text above was included. As my eyes fell upon the words of II Peter 2:9, the Spirit of God moved upon my heart and encouraged me to believe God to resolve the problems at hand. Despair left and hope arose as I looked a little more closely at the Word of God.
THE BREATH OF HOPE
The first thing that struck me as truth was the words, “The Lord knows.” I suddenly realized that the Lord knew exactly where I was and what I was going through. Faith in the Lord starts here. We should realize that every circumstance in our lives is watched over by the Lord. He is always aware of the circumstances surrounding His children and their needs. He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. He that watches over Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps. He will perfect those things that concern us. He knows! He knows! He knows! We are not alone in our circumstances. Secondly, I saw that the “Lord knows how to deliver.” While I may not see any way out of or through the difficulty at hand, the Lord not only sees my circumstance, He also sees the way through the issue. He doesn’t just see “a” way through the wilderness, He sees “the best way” through the darkness. He always does what is best for His children. He knows the proper path and will guide me through the darkest night by the light of His Word and the precious presence of His Spirit. He knows the way
out of my mess! He knows what I’m going through, and He knows how to deliver me from the situation. My responsibility is that of faith. I am to trust Him to lead, to guide, to supply, and to deliver whatever I may need in every situation. The Lord knows how! He knows how to deliver! He knows how to deliver me! He will deliver me from this situation!
WHO QUALIFIES AS GODLY?
But wait! Who will the Lord deliver? Does my life have to be one of “perfect performance” to earn His favor and care? Will I have had to do everything just perfectly to gain access to His delivering power? Do I qualify for the Lord’s help? If performance were the criterion, then the Lord could help no one. The context (II Peter 2:4-8) of this text answers the questions. In verse 5, the person of Noah is addressed. Most Bible students would agree that Noah was a godly man. God entrusted him with the building of the ark at a time when the hearts of men were only evil continuously. He was a man of sacrifice and a preacher of righteousness. He carried out the will of God at a very important time in man’s history.
The word godly indicates a man that God sees as righteous. What kind of person does God see as righteous? Who does God award righteousness to? The biblical answer comes through the person of Abraham. The Bible says that Abraham believed God and it was accounted to Him for righteousness. So, all those who believe in God’s redemption plan are declared righteous and worthy of God’s help. In the content of our text, this is illustrated even further by the mention of Lot. We can all see why God might declare Abraham and Noah godly or righteous, but how could the Holy Spirit direct Peter to choose this reference regarding Lot? We’re speaking of the man who pitched his tent toward Sodom and Gomorrah, the man who committed incest, and the man who fathered two nations of people who opposed the children of Israel? What good can we find in Lot? The answer: only by faith. Lot knew the truth and believed it. While I do not advise traveling the path that Lot traveled (the consequences of sin are always devastating and destructive), God saw his faith and delivered him out of the horror that would fall upon Sodom and Gomorrah.
Therefore, if God delivers those who believe in Christ and Him crucified (the godly), I qualify! So, even if my performance has
been less than perfect and pristine (again, not a lifestyle to be advised), I can still count on God to have mercy and deliver me from my current nightmare. The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations. He only asks that we have faith in the redemption plan that was carried out by Christ at Calvary, and that we learn to trust Him to see us through every circumstance. He has delivered me, He is delivering me, and He will deliver me!