We have all been in situations filled with danger and a sense of doom where we needed and hoped for rescue. Whether this was a broken down vehicle, a medical emergency, or a financial problem, the moment of release brings an inexpressible and profound sense of joy, relief, and gratitude.
While there are many circumstances which might require a rescue, no situation is more dire than the spiritual condition in which all humans find themselves. By virtue of our fallen human nature, we are all hopelessly trapped in a pit of our own making. Our sinful nature has caused us to seek after our own desires and thus sink deeper into the mire of selfishness. King David knew the desperation of his own spiritual condition. After being confronted with his hidden sin of murder and adultery, he exclaimed, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (Ps 51:5). He recognized the depth of his helplessness as he confessed, “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge” (Ps 51:4). Not only are we, as human beings, all hopelessly bound by our own sin, but we don’t even recognize our need to be rescued until God confronts us with our sinfulness. David’s prayer in Psalm 51 is a cry to be rescued from his self-centered life after such a humbling revelation. In another instance, David aptly illustrated what deliverance was like when he declared, “He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand” (Ps 40:2). Having experienced deliverance, David’s heart was filled with a song of praise, and consequently, “many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him” (Ps 40:3).
At Christmas, we celebrate the fact that Christ came into a sin-filled world uninvited and unwelcomed. We did not seek His deliverance; but despite opposition, He made a way to deliver us from our pits. Even now, as believers, we are at times stuck in pits of our own making. But the Rescuer is still delivering the captives. As He makes known to us our need for Him, all we need to do is to cry out to the Lord (Ps 40:1) and give him permission to rescue us. We must recognize our continual need for help as David did when he prayed, “But as for me, I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me. You are my help and my deliverer; you are my God, do not delay” (Ps 40:17). And when He hears our cry, He will come to our rescue once again. As David prayed, “May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who long for your saving help always say, ‘The Lord is great!’” (Ps 40:16). Look at the work of salvation the Lord has done and continues to do in our lives. He has rescued us – He is great indeed! Now let’s go tell someone about it.