Deliverance Amnesia

Even more surprising than the fact that Israel wanted a king was the reason why.

After explaining to the Israelites how much damage a king would do to their nation, the people respond: “No! But there shall be a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” In other words, they wanted a king because they were tired of having to trust God to fight for them.

Which is . . . crazy.

Because what had God been doing for them ever since they left Egypt? When they trusted in Him, He kept delivering them from their enemies, and He did so in shocking ways. The whole book of Judges proves God’s willingness and ability to fight for His people when they trust Him. Even in their recent history, God proved He would deliver them when they trusted in Him through the work of Samuel. Time and time again, God kept His promise to rescue them.


They seemed to have forgotten everything God had ever done and thought a human king this time might do a better job fighting for them. (By the way, didn’t turn out so well. Think David versus Goliath.) The Israelites had a kind of “deliverance amnesia.”

And I think we can struggle with that as well.

It is very easy when we find ourselves in frightening circumstances to develop a kind of deliverance amnesia, where we forget all the amazing ways God has delivered us in the past, and as a result begin looking to the people around us and wanting to put our trust in the same kinds of things they trust in instead of God. One of the simple ways to fight against making this foolish mistake is to continually work at remembering how God has provided and how God has delivered you in the past. Fight not to forget.

Sometimes it helps to hear the stories of others as well. I thought I could share a couple of the stories I heard just this past Friday from people at our church.

There was the young lady from Eritrea who spoke of being forced to serve as a soldier following high school and being rescued repeatedly in dramatic fashion from being raped by her fellow officers. There was the young man from Malawi who shared how he was shot in the chest three times and the way in which God used that to bring him to salvation. His wife shared how she was in a robbery where she was working, the robbers had decided they were going to kill her but when they pointed the gun at her head to shoot, no bullet came out. There was the older gentleman from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who told of waking up one morning on a military base before he was a believer from a drunken stupor to hundreds of dead soldiers around him. There was the young man from Durban who told of watching robbers point a gun at his father’s head in their very home and the way in which God delivered their family from that.

Sometimes God delivers us in dramatic way like these; other times of course “John the Baptist’s” head gets chopped off and God decides to deliver His people in a different way but at the end of the day however God decides to deliver us, He will deliver us. He’s proven His ability to accomplish our best in the past and He wants us to trust Him in the present and to do that, we should work at remembering how much better a God God is than the no-gods the people around us are trusting in!

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