Do You Need Rescuing?
March 11, 2009 • By Ed Wrather
…the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment. - 2 Peter 2:9 NKJV.
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. - 1 Corinthians 10:12-14 NKJV.
Usually when we hear a story about a St. Bernard dog we think immediately of their heroic history as rescue dogs in the Swiss Alps. In 1707, the St. Bernard, Barry, rescued (depending on accounts of the event) between 40 and 100 people at what is now known as the Great St. Bernard Pass. The heroic dog’s body has actually been preserved and is in the Natural History Museum at Berne. However, I recently read about a St. Bernard that instead of rescuing, was on the receiving end of a rescue. Duke, a 16-month-old St. Bernard, got out of his owner’s yard in Billings, Montana and ended up falling through the ice on a golf course pond. Duke got out of the pond, but then was frozen to the ice. After the dog was found by a maintenance worker, the fire department was called. See, it’s not only cats in trees that they rescue! Two firefighters reached the 118-pound dog with a rescue sled. After the ice was broken off, and a blow dryer at a veterinary clinic dried him off, Duke was feeling pretty good.
In the 20th and 21st Centuries, there are as there always have been, many worldly temptations and snares of the devil. Even great servants of God can sometime succumb to those temptations and snares. Bob Harrington is an example. Bob was saved in 1958 and three days later preached his first sermon. He became an evangelist and by the late 1960s was conducting area wide crusades and had a weekly television program. His ministry in the French Quarter of New Orleans was well known and he was proclaimed by the Mayor of New Orleans to be the "Chaplain of Bourbon Street." It all came to an end in 1976 when Bob Harrington was at the pinnacle of his ministry. Bob left the ministry to live as a prodigal for 17 years. After 17 years of prodigal living he returned to the Lord. Here are a couple of links where you can find out more about Bob Harrington’s life and testimony. First, is a SBC Life article: http://www.sbclife.net/articles/2000/11/sla6. Second, is Harrington’s facebook profile: https://www.facebook.com/ChaplainOfBourbonSt/.
What was it that led to Bob Harrington’s fall? His website, which is no longer active, mentioned his pride. What was it that led to the devil being cast out of Heaven? It was his pride (Ezekiel 28:17). When did Bob Harrington turn away from the Lord? It was at the point of his greatest ministry. When you are the most effective for the Lord you must be very careful that you do not fall victim to the snares of the world, the flesh, and the devil.
What if you have already fallen? You were a servant of God in the past, and even led many to a saving faith in the Lord. You were a rescuer, but now you need to be rescued. There is a way of escape and the Lord is able to deliver you. If He rescued Bob Harrington, He can rescue you. If you will turn back to the Lord, the Lord will run to you as the Father ran to the prodigal son, welcoming you home (Luke 15:11-31). Just in case you were waiting for an invitation, here it is - your Heavenly Father wants you to come home.
1 John 1:9 is a good place to start as we are told, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” King David after his sin of adultery with Bathsheba, and of arranging the murder of her husband Uriah, gives us a great prayer of repentance and confession in Psalm 51; here is part of that prayer:
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight—
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me hear joy and gladness, that the bones You have broken may rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit. For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—These, O God, You will not despise (Psalm 51:1-4a; 8-9; 11-12; 17 NKJV.)”
(This devotional was updated 08.03.16)