For the last few years, I’ve been participating in Bible studies that ask me to look at the various characteristics of God and how they are displayed in stories throughout the Bible.
I’ve always known that the Bible is one big story about God, but I’ve rarely approached Bible study with the goal of purely knowing God better. I know, I know — that sounds ludicrous coming from someone who’s been in church her whole life, but sadly it’s true. Oftentimes, I’ve viewed Bible study as a place to find comfort and peace, learn to live a more godly life and many other things. And those things aren’t bad. But they aren’t the point of Bible study. How can I worship a God I don’t know? How can I find comfort and peace in a God I don’t know? How can I be a more godly person when I don’t know the One I am trying to emulate?
Concluding Bible study by looking at which characteristic of God I found most obvious through my time in Scripture has been transformative for me. It has helped me recenter my study of Scripture around what matters most: knowing and loving God more.
The studies have a list of about 30 attributes of God to look at, but I’m going to spend the rest of this post talking about my current favorite characteristic of God — God as deliverer.
Obviously, all of God’s characteristics are important, but God as deliverer is one that has stood out to me over and over again.
What does it mean that God is our deliverer? It means that God rescues us. He saves us.
For me, “deliverer” brings to mind imagery of God as a mighty warrior. He fights for His children and He is ultimately victorious.
One passage of Scripture that painted that picture for me incredibly well was Psalm 18. David wrote Psalm 18 after God delivered him from Saul and all his enemies.
Verses 6–19 read:
“In my distress I called upon the Lord;
to my God I cried for help.
From His temple He heard my voice,
and my cry to Him reached his ears.
Then the earth reeled and rocked;
the foundations also of the mountains trembled
and quaked, because He was angry.
Smoke went up from His nostrils,
and devouring fire from His mouth;
glowing coals flamed forth from Him.
He bowed the heavens and came down;
thick darkness was under His feet.
He rode on a cherub and flew;
He came swiftly on the wings of the wind.
He made darkness His covering, His canopy around Him,
thick clouds dark with water.
Out of the brightness before Him
hailstones and coals of fire broke through His clouds.
The Lord also thundered in the heavens,
and the Most High uttered His voice,
hailstones and coals of fire.
And He sent out His arrows and scattered them;
He flashed forth lightnings and routed them.
Then the channels of the sea were seen,
and the foundations of the world were laid bare
at Your rebuke, O Lord,
at the blast of the breath of Your nostrils.
He sent from on high, He took me;
He drew me out of many waters.
He rescued me from my strong enemy
and from those who hated me,
for they were too mighty for me.
They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
but the Lord was my support.
He brought me out into a broad place;
He rescued me, because He delighted in me.”
Did that imagery jump out for you like it did for me when I studied this psalm recently? Our God is a fierce warrior. Yes, He’s loving and compassionate and good. But he’s also mighty. He is our deliverer.
But why is He our mighty deliverer? Why is He our fierce warrior? It’s not because He’s full of anger and has a thirst for vengeance. It’s right there in verse 19: “because He delighted in me.” God fought for David because God loved David. That same God is fighting for me and you because He loves us. And don’t fear — God is always victorious. God wins the war. God is our deliverer.
In the psalms, we see God save David from earthly death. But we know that not everyone will experience an earthly rescue. Some will face sickness, disaster and evil in this life and God will call them home.
The good news? God’s ultimate deliverance isn’t earthly — it’s eternal. God delivered us from sin and death when He sent Jesus Christ to die for our sins on the cross. The war against Satan has already been waged, and God’s victory is sure. That is our deliverance.
“When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ ”
‘Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?’
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15: 54–57).
Want to learn more about the attributes of God? Jen Wilkin has two books that have helped me wrap my mind around the vastness of who God is: “None Like Him,” which looks at 10 ways God is not like us, and “In His Image,” which looks at 10 ways we are called to reflect His character.