John T. Willis

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Deliverance from a Flood

The Tsunami which killed thousands in Indonesia, Thailand, and India, and Hurricane Katrina which demolished New Orleans make the reader of the Bible much more conscious of the use of a "flood" to describe enemies of God's people. A striking example of this appears in the language of Psalm 69. Note especially verses 1-4d and 14-15:

"Save me, O God,
for the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in deep mire,
where there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters,
and the flood sweeps over me.
I am weary with my crying;
my throat is parched.
My eyes grow dim
with waiting for my God.
More in number than the hairs of my head
are those who hate me without cause;
many are they who would destroy me,
my enemies who accuse me falsely. . . .
With your faithful help rescue me
from sinking in the mire;
let me be delivered from my enemies
and from the deep waters.
Do not let the flood sweep over me,
or the deep swallow me up,
or the Pit close its mouth over me." [See similarly Psalm 124:1-5].

When enemies threaten to drown God's people, God provides deliverance beyond human comprehension. Among other things, biblical writers use the metaphor of a huge rock which juts out of the flooding waters above their surging waves to describe this deliverance. Two passages in the Psalms are especially interesting. Psalm 27:5 says:
"For he [Yahweh] will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will set me high on a rock."
And Psalm 61:2-3 says:
"From the end of the earth I call to you
when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
that is higher than I;
for you are my refuge,
a strong tower against the enemy."