“Deliver[i] us from evil[ii]” (Matt. 6:13) Is how the prayer Jesus taught us to pray aptly ends. Aptly because God’s end goal is deliverance of His children from evil, and not just deliverance from evil, but deliverance to God and His purpose.
Literally, this phrase in the original text means “draw us to Yourself (our Deliverer) and, thereby, deliver us from the pain and misery of evil”. God does not simply seek to deliver us from our troubles caused by the sin that entangles us: He delivers us to Himself for His divine purpose.
Evil (trouble, pain, misery, difficulty, hardship) is the result of a world out of sync with God, its Creator, and this evil is our lot without God – when we are not in right relationship with God. People who are living according to the dictates of the world may (or may) not feel the weight of evil, but the pain and misery of it awaits them. Believers who have turned to God and, thereby, are no longer living in harmony with the flesh and this world, will have tribulation (the pressure of standing apart and against a fallen world). (John 16:33)
Though we will encounter evil, the Father delivers us from the evil of this world. He has already done this, and He will do it. “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.” (Col. 1:13) But, we are still in the world, which is evil. Just as the world hated Jesus because it is evil (John 7:7), the world will hate us. (John 15:18-25)
It is this evil and its consequences – the difficulty, pain and troubles – from which we ask the Father to deliver us. We see this in Paul’s second address to the Corinthians:
For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead: who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us…. (2 Cor. 1:8-10)
This deliverance is the promise of God. We can ask for it with confidence. God does not promise that we will not encounter evil (tribulations); He promises to deliver us from it.
Thank you Father for Your promise, for the deliverance that You promise us, for Your Holy Spirit Who guides us into the truth and empowers us to overcome the world as Jesus overcame the world.
[i] 4506/rhýomai (from eryō, “draw to oneself”) – literaly, draw (pull) to oneself; to rescue (“snatch up”); to draw a person to and for the deliverer. The sense of the Greek text is, “Deliver to Yourself and for Yourself,” i.e. “Lord deliver me out of my (personal) pains and bring me to You and for You.” J. Thayer, “Properly, rhýomai means to draw out . . . to one’s self” – i.e. to rescue for oneself. Rhýomai (“rescue”) implies removing someone in the midst (presence) of danger or oppression, i.e. delivered “right out of” and to (for) the rescuer.
[ii] 4190/ponērós (an adjective, also used substantively and derived from pónos, “pain,” “laborious trouble”) – literally, pain-ridden, emphasizing the inevitable agonies (misery) that go with evil. Ponēros (“painful evil”) focuses on the active outworking of sin, spreading “contagious suffering” (“misery,” “pain”).Ponēros expresses evil in terms of its many “linkages” bringing emotional (psychological) pain – suggesting “heavy labors, annoyances, hardships” (J. Thayer). Ponēros only secondarily means “evil,” as with its OT counterpart (7451/raʽa). Both terms primarily stress “pain” that always results from sin (evil)
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