Ruler, because Deliverer
‘Rule thou over us, . . . for thou hast delivered us.’— Judges viii. 22.
ALTHOUGH the passage in which these words occur cannot be considered a typical one, yet we may perhaps take them as illustrating and epitomizing the desire of every one whom Christ has delivered.
But what about this deliverance which precedes the prayer, ‘Rule thou over us’? Is it ours? Do we not know whether He has delivered us or not? It is no doing of ours, for ‘we have not wrought any deliverance.’1 We have only His word about it, but that is indeed enough, in its absolute and unmistakable assurance: ‘Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come ; ‘2 ‘Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness.’3 This grand deliverance is accomplished, and Jesus Himself proclaims it. Will you doubt His own proclamation of His own act? He has opened the prison doors, and now bids the captives go free, and know that they are free.4 He has vanquished the foe and broken the bands of his yoke, and now tells you that He givethyou the victory which He has already won. What can He do more? He will do no more, because He has done all; therefore, if you do not accept the deliverance which He has wrought, there is no other for you, and ‘nothing can be put to it.’5 Only believe it, and then you will joyfully say, ‘He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me.’ 6
But you will not stop there. Merely to be ‘in peace ‘7 is not the end and aim of deliverance. If we are truly delivered, the Deliverer will soon be more to us than even the deliverance, and the gratitude and love will seek expression in obedience. Soldiers are ready to follow the captain who has won the victory anywhere and everywhere; they will not want to be in any other service, least of all in that of his foe.
1 Isa. xxvi. i8. 2 I Thess. i. lo. 3 Col. i. 13.
4 Isa. xlii. 7 ; ib. Ixi. i. 6 Eccles. iii. 14. ^ Ps. Iv. 18.
‘ Luke i. 74.
We may take this as a test of the reality of our own participation in the deliverance which Chi ist has wrought for us. If we are saying, ‘Rule Thou over us,’ it is a sure proof that we may add, ‘for., Thou hast delivered us;’ for it is His people who are willing in the day of His power.1
This ruling is indeed the completion of the deliverance. It is not merely that the enemy is conquered and expelled from the stronghold, but that the citadel is occupied by a stronger than he; * otherwise the garrison would be left headless and defenceless, and open at any moment to the fatal return of the foe. So the Saviour, who has redeemed our life from destruction,3 is the Jesus who shall save His people from their sins,* who shall cast down imaginations, and bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.5 The Deliverer who comes to Zion is He who shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.* If we are not willing for this, we may well doubt whether we have any part or lot in the matter, and fear that we are yet in the bond of iniquity;7 for Christ will not arrange a partial salvation to meet our partial desire.8 He will not be our refuge from the penalty of sin, if we do not want Him as our refuge from the power.* When the elders of Gilead turned to Jephthah in their distress, that he might lead them to victory over their oppressors, what was his condition ?10—’ If ye bring me home again to fight against the children of Amnion, and the Lord deliver them before me, shall I be your head?”’
1 Ps. ex. 3. * Luke xi. 22. 8 Ps. ciii. 4.
* Matt. i. 21. 6 2 Cor. x. 5. 6 Isa. Jix. 20.
7 Acts viii. 21 ; ib. viii. 23. 8 Rom. vi. l, 22.
• T1tus ii. 14. 18 Judg. xi. 4-8.’
Lord Jesus, Thou art exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour,* and as such I need Thee and I desire Thee. ‘Thou hast delivered my soul from death,” therefore! pray Thee to deliver my feet from falling, that I may ‘ run the way of Thy commandments.’4 Oh, sit and rule upon Thy throne in my heart;5 reign there until Thou hast put all enemies under Thy feet! 19