He Rescued Me

Saturday, August 09, 2014, 5:02 p.m. – the Lord Jesus put the song in mind, “He Reached Down.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Matthew 14:22-36 (NIV).

The Context

Herod had arrested John the Baptist, and had him placed in prison because John confronted him with his unlawful act of taking his brother’s wife to be his own. Herod wanted to kill John, but did not do so for fear of the people who considered him a prophet. Yet, Herod made an unwise promise to a young girl whose dance pleased him, and thus he felt forced (obligated) to keep the promise. He had John beheaded, and his head brought to the girl on a platter. The girl then gave it to her mother (Herodias), who had given the girl the idea. John’s disciples took John’s body and buried it, and then they told Jesus.

John the Baptist was the voice of one crying in the wilderness, “Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight his paths,” as was prophesied about him in the Old Testament Prophets. He was also Jesus’ cousin.

When Jesus heard the news of his beheading, he withdrew by boat to a solitary place, but the crowds followed him, so he had compassion on them. Now that he had dismissed the crowds, he continued on to do what he had planned, which was to spend time alone with his Father in prayer. Certainly this news of John’s death must have grieved him greatly. As well, he must have been grieved over the sinful condition of humans who would do such a thing.

Buffeted by Waves

Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

“Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Don’t Be Afraid

I see the boat in this story as representative of the world and/or the church. The people inside the world, or inside the church, are being swayed, manipulated, shaken, upset, pounded, beaten, assaulted, abused, damaged and/or knocked down by the influences, trends, movements, opinions, disturbances, disorders, troubles, disasters, and/or troop deployments in this world of ours. All this is taking place because of the opposing forces coming against them, which are primarily Satan, his deceived ones, evil humans, our own sin, and/or the curse put upon this earth due to the fall of man, resulting in sickness, disease, and death, etc. Sometimes these things happen because people are far from Jesus, or they have distanced themselves from him due to idolatry and spiritual adultery.

Jesus reaches out to us and tells us that he is the answer for what troubles and concerns us. He is our only hope of salvation. He comes to us first of all through his death and resurrection, then through his word, through the witness of his Spirit, through other people, and/or through our circumstances, and often in times when we hit rock bottom and we see no other way out. We may not always recognize him and his work in our lives, and we may even be frightened by what he brings about in order to get our attention, or in order that he might reveal his glory in our lives, but we should not be afraid. He is completely sovereign over all things in this world of ours, and he holds all things together (See Col. 1:15-20).

Little Faith

Sometimes we respond to the movement of God, of Jesus Christ, and of his Holy Spirit in our lives with partial or incomplete faith. We may even pray, “Lord, I believe. Help me in my unbelief.” And, so we step out in faith, not 100% convinced we are headed in the right direction, but feeling impressed that this is what we should do, and willing to trust the Lord even though we can’t see what lies ahead of us. Yet, sometimes when we get out there, and things begin to go awry, and we are buffeted (shaken) by the waves (troubles and disturbances) all around us, it may lead us to question ourselves as to whether or not we truly heard the Lord, and if this is really what we were supposed to do.

Maybe it is because it was really our idea to begin with, and the Lord allowed us to step out in that direction so we would learn to trust him more. Or, it could be that he was calling us to go, but when things got hard, then we got our eyes off of Jesus, and we looked at our circumstances instead of at Jesus, and so we began to drown in doubt and/or despair.

Yet, if we call upon him in faith, and we ask him to save us, he will reach out his hand to us, and he will take hold of us. He may scold us for our lack of faith, yet He will calm the storms that are raging within us, even though they may still be raging all around us. In other words, our circumstances may not get better. They may even get worse. Yet, we can be calm and at peace knowing that he is right here with us, that he will take hold of us, and that he will carry us through whatever storms in our lives are going around us, if we will just reach out to him in faith. We just have to know that he is in control of all things, and we have to place our complete trust in him, believing that he will work all things for good for those who love him, and who have been called according to his purpose (See Ro. 8:28).

Trials and Heartaches

Many throughout the world are presently suffering greatly at the hands of the deceived, and at the hands of evil human beings. Some of them are literally being beheaded because of their faith in Jesus Christ and their testimonies for him. Others may be suffering rejection, hatred, violence, and persecution because of their faith in Christ, or because they dare to be different, and/or because they refuse to bow to the gods of humans. And, in some cases, the perpetrators of such crimes deceive, deflect, distract and BLAME OTHERS for their crimes, which then only heaps even more abuse upon those already suffering greatly.

So, we need to get alone with God in prayer, as did Jesus, and pray for all those who are suffering unjustly in this world of ours, and we need to ask HIM ALONE to intervene on their behalf, because he alone can be trusted to do what is in their best interest. We should never look to humans to save us, or to save others, because, as humans, we can’t be trusted. We should always and forever put our trust ONLY in Jesus Christ to lift us up out of the deep waters that are so deep that we will sink, yet for his mercy and grace to us in rescuing us.

He Reached Down / An Original Work / February 3, 2014
Based off Psalm 18

How I love You, Lord,
My Rock and my strength.
My God is my fortress;
I hide in Him.
He is my shield and the horn of
My salvation, whom I praise.
I have found my refuge in Him.

He reached down from heaven
And rescued me;
Drew me out of waters
So deep, I’d sink.
He delivered me from Satan
And my slavery to sin;
Gave me hope of heaven with Him.

My God turned my darkness
Into His light;
Opened up my blinded eyes;
Gave me sight.
As for God, his way is perfect.
He gives strength to stand secure.
I have found my vict’ry in Him.

My Lord lives!
Praise be to my Savior God,
Jesus Christ, who died
On a cruel cross.
He is my Rock and the source
Of my salvation, whom I trust.
I will give praise always to Him.