There are times when God delivers us during the first watch. When we ask for forgiveness, he immediately forgives us:
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
I have also found that He provides emotional deliverance quickly, since this facet is important to developing the intimate relationship He wants us to have with Him. God’s Spirit desires to fill our hearts with love, joy, peace, and faith. He doesn’t want us to be oppressed with overwhelming negative emotions.
As we saw in yesterday’s devotional, many times God delivers us in the fourth watch, when things seem most hopeless and lost. At such times it is essential we remember God will always deliver and meet our needs: spiritually, emotionally, physically, and materially. David knew this truth when he wrote:
“The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. . . . The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry. . . . The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. . . . The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, and none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned” (Ps. 34:7-22).
The key to deliverance is stated in the following verses also:
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and hat He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6).
“The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord” (Lam. 3:25, 26).
Christians will have trials and difficulties. Our faith will be tested. But the purpose of the trials is to give us an opportunity to get to know our loving, compassionate heavenly Father better. We must never stop waiting in prayer—trusting and believing that God will hear and deliver us in His own time and way. Often His deliverance will come in the fourth watch when all seems hopeless and lost.
Scripture indicates that there is a direct relationship between our waiting on God in hopeful faith and the blessings we receive:
“Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy, to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy name. Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, just as we hope in You” (Ps. 33:18-22, emphasis added).
Notice that the scripture says that God’s mercy will be upon us “just as we hope” in Him. The more we trust and hopefully wait on God the more we will see God’s power in our life.
Those ready to meet Jesus will experience fourth watch deliverance. It is when all earthly support has been withdrawn, when the decree has been passed to put them to death that Christ will deliver us. It is essential that we—the last generation of Christians—learn the lesson of patiently waiting on God in faithful, restful trust even when God delays His deliverance. If we don’t learn this lesson, we will be in danger of giving up our faith when the tough times come. You may be going through such a time of waiting right now. If so, this is the lesson the Lord is seeking to teach you. Stay faithful during this time of “darkness and confusion” and learn the lesson of waiting on God. He may wait until the fourth watch to deliver you, but be assured, He will deliver you.
Personal reflection and discussion:
1. Does God always wait until the fourth watch to deliver us? Give an example of God delivering as soon as we ask.
2. Why does God often wait until the fourth watch to deliver us?
3. Why must Christians who are living when Jesus returns learn to wait patently in faith for God’s deliverance? If they haven’t learned to wait on God’s deliverance what do you think will happen to them?
• Call your prayer partner and discuss this devotional with him/her.
• Pray with your prayer partner:
1. Pray for God to baptize you with His Holy Spirit.
2. Pray for God to revive you and His church.
3. Pray for God to teach you to trust Him no matter what He allows to come into your life.
4. Pray for the individuals on your prayer list.”
Excerpt From: Dennis Smith. “40 Days.”