Deliver Us From the Evil One
Dr. Stephen Martyn
What is the last petition [in the Lord’s prayer]? It is “but deliver us from evil (Matt 6:13).” If you look at what the word actually says, it is “but deliver us from the evil one.” “Deliver us from the evil one.” It is the last petition. Let’s just say, an immense difference exists between being pulled away from evil influence, and actually being snatched out of the crushing clutch of the evil one. We want both, of course. We want both. But the latter one is by far the most serious issue. “Deliver us from the evil one.”
Deliver us, what do I mean? The great reformed theologian, Carl Barth, alerts us to the intensity of this request. He said: “We are in the jaws of death.” Listen, to live as an unrepentant sinner, you are in the jaws of death. The evil one is a real thing, a real power, a real creation, a fallen angel. We are in the jaws of death. We complain of it. “We suffer from it” Barth wrote. But we cannot break loose. We can’t pay the debt. When we fell, with Adam and Eve, that allowed Satan to stamp his image on us. That means, we became his. So, Barth is bringing up a pretty serious issue here. Barth explains that the Greek word means, not only “deliver us” but “snatch us from these jaws, break these things.” Help us, Lord. Help us.
The danger is always present of being overwhelmed and done into nothingness by the one and only enemy of our lives, really, the one and only enemy of our lives, the evil one.
Satan is Described as a Lion on the Prowl
How did Peter describe [Satan] in 1 Peter 5:7? We have used lion in a positive way, the Lion of Judah; but now, Peter uses it in a very negative way, a roaring lion, prowling around, what? Looking for someone to devour, chomp his teeth down on. But Peter also made the assurance that if we hold steadfast during times of suffering, that the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will what? He will restore, support, strengthen and establish you. It is all in 1 Peter 5:10. It is a sweet, sweet passage. We need continual vigilance as well as the imparted assurance from Jesus that God’s Kingdom has overcome the evil one. The Lord Jesus himself has pried the jaws of death open. The jail of death was broken. The evil one’s clinch is broken.
The Analogy of Mountain Climbing
When I look back over all of the 14,000 ft. mountains that I have tried to climb in my life, these are The Rocky Mountains in Colorado, I can think back and look at the stunning times of being able to get on top of the peak. Actually, I think there were more times of when I did not make it up on top of the peak of those 14,000 ft. peaks. There were times when I didn’t have enough outerwear. I’ve been up literally in the middle of the summer and have been caught up in a full-blown blizzard, driving snow. I have been caught in hail. Even if it rains on your way up there, if you don’t have really complete, total rain gear on, hypothermia is a real issue, real fast. I’ve been blown off the mountain with gale force winds. I’ve gone up without enough water. You name it, I’ve done it. None of those 14,000 ft. mountains have been easy, at least for me, to climb. None of them, not one.
Several times, particularly in my older years, I have battled physical exhaustion while climbing the side of one of those beautiful, magnificent Colorado peaks. There is nothing more frustrating than being really close. You can almost feel it. You feel like you can almost touch it. But you don’t see how you can possibly put one foot in front of another.
Satan seeks to take advantage of us, putting that kind of thought in our lives. How can we put one foot in front of another? How can we possibly go through this? He wants to grab us with his crushing jaws. He does it, particularly when we come to the end of ourselves, when we get into any kind of a crisis situation. Or, he does it when we get full of ourselves and get bloated up, thinking, man, I did that, yes.
It is called vainglory. Whether pride and arrogance get us, or whether weakness and tribulation get us. He does not care whether he gets us from the right or the left. Satan is just trying to get us, one way or the other. We can be like an athlete that the New Testament talks about, you just dissipate yourself with the loss of moral temperance after winning a battle, become prideful, puffed up; as if our competence rests alone on our self-effort and discipline. No, that is not the way of Christ here.
Pray in Faith and Take One Step at a Time
What do you do in times like that? Here is what you do. You ask the Lord Jesus for help. You get up, you stand up and you put one foot in front of the other and you keep asking for help.
Inevitably, what happens in these situations – it might be that day, it might be two weeks later, it might be ten years later – at some point, you are going to stand on a peak if you keep going. When you get up on these peaks, you get a panoramic view that you just don’t get on the side of the peak. You see magnificence and beauty, and suddenly the graces of God just lift your spirits and you give gratitude that he helped you to make it. You are so thankful that all is well.
Be Strong in the Lord, Ephesians 6:10
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