October 22, 2022

Deliver Us from Evil (Proper 30c)

     Deliver us from evil is the culmination and a summary of the Lord’s Prayer. Some chilling news – evil is “live” spelled backwards. The ending in Greek indicates it is a male identity. Ie. He, the evil one or Satan. As I share in Going Spiritual, I did not really understand evil until I was hitchhiking through the battlefields of France. I realized evil is intentional destruction of human lives for no purpose or benefit– very different from “bad things” that happen by accident. In the Readings:

·     Joel gives us an End Times warning and hope – destruction is coming - and God will send Jesus / Holy Spirit to deliver us  

·     Timothy Reading omits the very important warning about false teachers v.1-4 and then assures us that God will rescue the righteous from every evil attack–particularly by false teachers

·     Jesus is teaching us that humility and repentance deliver us from the evil and the destruction of Spiritual pride 


1.   Deliver Us from Spiritual Death

Joel is giving a warning and the good news of deliverance from spiritual death in Babylon. The Hebrews had abandoned their special Covenant relationship with God. God had abandoned them, allowed their enemies to defeat and destroy Israel and carried them off to captivity in a pagan land. The good news is:

·     They had repented, prayed and asked for and received forgiveness

·     God promises deliverance from physical and spiritual captivity

·     God promises Holy Spirit will be poured out on all people to guide them, lead them, correct them, comfort them and heal them

·     God is warning them of and End Timecataclysmic disaster - in a time like ourswhen only those who call on the name of the Lord will be saved from physical and spiritual death

·      End Time is when you die physically or when Jesus Comes back – whichever comes sooner. There is a Judgement Day!


2.   Deliver Us from Attacks of Evil / False Teachers

The Timothy Reading assigned starts with “But” in verse 5. What comes before the “but” is a warning about false teachers in the future. This must have been too personal for the later liberal clergy who selected the which verses to read and which to skip over. It teaches us to be vigilant in choosing teacher and in reading the Bible – and not skip over the hard bits. Paul teaches us he has:

·     Faced attacks of evil and fought the good fight with boldness 

·     Run the race and opposed with false teachers

·     Been delivered from evil 

·     Been strengthened by Holy Spirit to proclaim the Good News

·     Hope of receiving the crown of righteousness – right relationship

·     Share my chilling experience of hearing a voice telling me to push the woman I loved into rush hour traffic – believed in evil


3.   Deliver Us from Spiritual Pride

Jesus turns the very popular assumption that those who do all the right things are saved on its head. The “bad guy – a despised, traitorous and corrupt tax collector is justified (saved) before the Pharisee: 

·     The Pharisee was prideful - depending on himself his good deeds

·     The Tax collector was humble - depending on God for mercy

·     Spiritual pride is the worst sin – separates us from man and God

·     Pride is all about me - leads to all the other deadly sins – envy, avarice, covetousness, lust, etc.


Readings teach us to follow only Jesus and be led by His Holy Spirit:

·     Leads and guides us better than human. Reason

·     Convicts us if we go off message

·     Comforts us when we need help

·     Heals us

·      Jesus is the one who delivers us from evil!

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