God Has Rescued Me
God Has Rescued Me
Tony Bullimore, aged fifty-six, was one of Britain’s most experienced transatlantic yachtsmen. He was feared dead after his sixty-foot yacht, Exide Challenger, capsized amid the icy vastness of the Southern Ocean, two months into the Vendée Globe round-the-world race.
The keel came off in fifty-foot waves. The boat went over. In his book, Saved, Bullimore described it as being like the Niagara Falls upside down. For four days he was entombed in a dark, noisy, wet and cold upside-down world with fifty-foot swells and a temperature hovering around freezing.
He suffered the discomfort of seasickness and drawing breath from a few feet of air between the water level and what was once the bottom of the boat. He was more than a thousand miles from the nearest land. As the air supply diminished he prayed that he would be rescued.
It was the Royal Australian Navy that came to the rescue. With modern satellite and surveillance technology the Australian government had pinpointed the progress of all the yachts and sent out a rescue team.
After four days, Bullimore heard banging on the side of his yacht. He said afterwards, ‘I can never thank the Australian Navy enough for what they have done because they have genuinely saved my life, there is no question.’ The first words when he emerged were, ‘Thank God, it is a miracle.’ He said, ‘I felt like I had been born all over again. I felt like a new man. I felt I had been brought to life again.’
As one journalist put it at the time, ‘A rescue that succeeds against all odds and every expectation is the best of all stories. It is pure and spontaneous joy.’ Supremely Jesus ‘gave himself for our sins to rescue us’ (Galatians 1:4a).
As I look back on my life, I can see many occasions when God has rescued me. As you face difficult situations you can trust that God will rescue you.
Trust God to rescue youPsalm 31:1-8
It is sometimes very hard to keep trusting in God, especially if things seem to go wrong in your life – with your relationships, work, finances, health or some other situation. David’s prayer here is an encouragement to cry out to God to rescue you and then to put your trust in God.
As Tony Bullimore prayed for rescue, so David prayed, ‘Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue’ (v.2a), ‘I trust in, rely on, and confidently lean on the Lord’ (v.6b, AMP).
David said, ‘Into your hands I commit my spirit’ (v.5). Just before he died, Jesus echoed these words. He called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit’ (Luke 23:46). These are the ultimate words of trust.
In this psalm we see the results of God’s love for you shown supremely through the death of Jesus. The Lord is:
The psalm starts with the words, ‘In you, Lord, I have taken refuge’ (Psalm 31:1a). Later he says, ‘Keep me free from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge’ (v.4). There are many trials, tests, traps and temptations in this life. In all this, the Lord is your refuge.
David writes, Lord ‘be my rock’ (v.2b) and ‘since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me’ (v.3). You can know God’s guiding and leading, by his Spirit. He is your security on which you can depend.
He prays, ‘Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue’ (v.2a). He goes on to describe how God saw the ‘affliction and… anguish of [his] soul’ (v.7b). Yet God did not hand him over to the enemy (v.8a). He rescued him and has ‘set [his] feet in a spacious place’ (v.8b). In Jesus you receive the ultimate rescue. He will set your feet in a spacious place.
Lord, thank you that you have rescued me. In all the trials of life, help me to keep trusting in you.
Love your rescuer passionatelyMark 13:32-14:16
Love for Jesus is even more important than love for the poor. Indeed, it is our very love for Jesus that overflows into love for others, especially the poor.
Love like this lies behind the anointing of Jesus’ body. This woman acted out of gratitude and love for Jesus. In light of this, her extravagance with very expensive perfume (probably a year’s wages) was not a ‘waste’ (14:4). Of course, Jesus was not unmindful of the needs of the poor. However, he said the money she gave was not wasted: ‘She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial’ (v.8).
That act of generosity would be remembered for all time (v.9). In Jesus’ eyes, nothing you give out of love for him is ever wasted (vv.7–8) or ever forgotten by him (v.9). Rather, he sees everything you give out of love for him as ‘a beautiful thing’ (v.6). There is something beautiful about every act of generosity.
Jesus’ reference to his burial draws attention to the fact that the events of Jesus’ life are coming to a climax. As they do, it is clear that the Passover was the setting that Jesus chose for the final events of his life.
Five times, in this passage alone, the Passover is mentioned (vv.1,12,14,16). Jesus clearly understood his death in terms of the Passover lamb that was to be sacrificed (v.12). It was the blood of the Passover lamb that rescued God’s people from judgment and death. ‘For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed’ (1 Corinthians 5:7b).
We see here further evidence that Jesus thought of himself as the unique Son of God. As he speaks about his coming again he says, ‘About that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father’ (Mark 13:32).
What gratitude Tony Bullimore felt for those who rescued him! He said that he could never thank them enough. How much more gratitude and love should we have for the one who has given his life to rescue us from eternal death.
Lord, thank you that you gave your life as a Passover sacrifice to rescue me from judgment and death. Thank you that every time I eat the ‘Lord’s Supper’ I am reminded of your sacrifice and my rescue.
Marvel at God’s amazing rescue planLeviticus 15:1-16:34
Because of his great love for you, God meticulously planned your rescue. The rescue of Tony Bullimore took days of planning and preparation. Of course, God’s great rescue plan for humanity took far more planning, preparation and prefiguring.
The regulations about ‘uncleanness’ seem very strange to our modern ears. This is because they no longer apply to us. They were fulfilled and superseded by Jesus.
The Day of Atonement (chapter 16) lays the background to the death of Jesus. St Paul writes, ‘God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement’ (Romans 3:25). The writer of Hebrews says that Jesus ‘had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people’ (Hebrews 2:17).
The fact that the high priest’s own access had to be won by sacrifice was proof enough of the priesthood’s inadequacy (Hebrews 5:3; 7:27; 9:7; 9:11–15).
In the sacrifice on the Day of Atonement we see an astonishing foreshadowing of the cross: ‘He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites – all their sins – and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the wilderness… the goat will carry on itself all their sins’ (Leviticus 16:21–22a). This is the origin of the English word ‘scapegoat’ (‘the goat of removal’, v.8).
This prefigures your sin and my sin being ‘laid’ on Jesus (see Isaiah 53:4–6). The apostle Peter writes of Jesus, ‘“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross’ (1 Peter 2:24a). He is the one who sends our sins away ‘as far as the east is from the west’ (Psalm 103:12). When John the Baptist saw Jesus he said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’ (John 1:29).
As a result, an amazing change has taken place in your relationship with God. Through Jesus, you can now enter into the Holy of Holies everyday (Hebrews 10:19–20). You can come boldly to the throne of grace (4:16) and know that you will always be welcome.
Lord, thank you that you have rescued me by your blood and you died as a ransom to set me free. Thank you that I can now come boldly into your presence every day.
I love the picture of God being our ‘strong fortress’ (v.2). Back in Medieval Britain, when raiders came to attack a village, the villagers would run for safety to a fortress and, once they were all inside, they would pull up the drawbridge. This would cut off the enemy’s access and keep everyone safe inside. When times are tough we can take refuge in God who is our strong fortress.
Verse of the Day
‘I’ve put my life in your hands.
You won’t drop me,
you’ll never let me down’ (Psalm 31:5, MSG).
Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version Anglicised, Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 Biblica, formerly International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, an Hachette UK company. All rights reserved. ‘NIV’ is a registered trademark of Biblica. UK trademark number 1448790.
Scripture quotations marked (AMP) taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org)