Day 126

Jesus Always Delivers

Wisdom Psalm 56:1–13
New Testament John 4:27–42
Old Testament Judges 2:6–3:31


Pippa and I met Ah Yin when we visited Jackie Pullinger in Hong Kong. He had become a drug addict as a teenager. His father was an addict. He was brought up in the notorious Walled City. He joined a gang at the age of eleven. They ate, stole, fought and took heroin together. At the age of fourteen, he got caught doing a robbery and spent his first time in detention.

Over the years he tried everything to get off drugs. Nothing worked. Then he met Jackie and, through the power of Jesus, came off drugs with no pain at all. Since then he has become one of the leaders of Jackie’s work in Hong Kong. He has trained many people to pray for the sick and to work with the poor. He is one example of the millions of people whom Jesus has delivered from addiction and set free. Ah Yin has spent the rest of his life testifying about the saviour who always delivers.


Psalm 56:1–13

For the director of music. To the tune of “A Dove on Distant Oaks.” Of David. A miktam. When the Philistines had seized him in Gath.

1 Be merciful to me, my God,
   for my enemies are in hot pursuit;
   all day long they press their attack.
2 My adversaries pursue me all day long;
   in their pride many are attacking me.

3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
4  In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid.
   What can mere mortals do to me?

5 All day long they twist my words;
   all their schemes are for my ruin.
6 They conspire, they lurk,
   they watch my steps,
   hoping to take my life.
7 Because of their wickedness do not let them escape;
   in your anger, God, bring the nations down.

8 Record my misery;
   list my tears on your scroll —
   are they not in your record?
9 Then my enemies will turn back
   when I call for help.
   By this I will know that God is for me.

10 In God, whose word I praise,
   in the LORD, whose word I praise—
11 in God I trust and am not afraid.
   What can man do to me?

12 I am under vows to you, my God;
   I will present my thank offerings to you.
13 For you have delivered me from death
   and my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before God
   in the light of life.


Trust God to deliver you

Fear can be overwhelming. David feared for his life (v.6). He discovered that the answer to fear is trust in God (vv.3,4, 11).

David had been seized by the Philistines in Gath. It must have been a terrible experience. He was ‘kicked around’, ‘stomped on every day’ and beaten up (Psalm 56:1, MSG). Yet in the midst of it all he trusted in God: ‘When I get really afraid I come to you in trust. I’m proud to praise God; fearless now, I trust in God’ (vv.3–4, MSG).

There are times in life when we come under attack. It could be spiritual attack or attack from other people.

Whatever the cause of the fear, like David, put your trust in God: ‘In God I have put my trust and confident reliance; I will not be afraid’ (v.11a, AMP).

This psalm ends on a note of triumph and deliverance (‘you have delivered me’, v.13). David thanks God for setting him free: ‘God, you did everything you promised, and I’m thanking you with all my heart. You pulled me from the brink of death, my feet from the cliff-edge of doom. Now I stroll at leisure with God in the sunlit fields of life’ (v.13, MSG).


Lord, thank you for the many times in my life when I have been afraid and have called on you for help and you have delivered me. Today I call on you for help and trust in you to deliver me.

New Testament

John 4:27–42

The Disciples Rejoin Jesus

27 Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”

28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him.

31 Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.”

32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”

33 Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?”

34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35 Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36 Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37 Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. 38 I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labour.”

Many Samaritans Believe

39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers.

42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Saviour of the world.”


Testify about the Saviour

Every Christian has a testimony. The most powerful way of passing on the message of Jesus is to tell people your story. If they are interested then you can say, like the woman in this incident, ‘come, see...’ (v.29a).

The population of a whole town came to the conclusion that Jesus ‘really is the Saviour of the world’ (v.42). The Samaritan woman had been transformed by her encounter with Jesus. She immediately began to testify about her Saviour. She went back to her village and told the people, ‘Come see a man who knew all about the things I did, who knows me inside and out. Do you think this could be the Messiah?’ (v.29, MSG).

There really is great power in a testimony. This woman had no theological training or even understanding of Christian doctrine. She was not even totally convinced about Jesus herself. She does not say with great conviction, ‘Jesus is the Christ’. Rather, she has reached the position of saying, ‘Could this be the Christ?’ (v.29b). Yet she was powerfully used by God in evangelisation.

In this sense, she is like so many of the testimonies we hear on Alpha. People are not even sure themselves of what they have discovered, but they speak powerfully at the end of Alpha when they give their testimonies and often bring their friends to the next course.

All they know is that Jesus has revealed himself in some way to them. They have experienced some kind of ‘deliverance’ from the empty way of life. They say to their friends, ‘Come, see…’ (v.29a).

‘Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony’ (v.39). Jesus had changed her life. The waters of life were pouring out of her as Jesus had promised. The people were amazed and astonished by her transformation. They came and saw, and ‘because of [Jesus’] words many more became believers’ (v.41).

‘They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Saviour of the world”’ (v.42). The teaching of Jesus and the testimony about Jesus both powerfully point to his identity as Saviour of the world.

He said, ‘My food… is to do the will of him who sent me’ (v.34). Jesus shows by the example of his ministry that our spiritual hunger, a life of emptiness and lack of purpose, can only be satisfied by doing God’s will. Nothing is more satisfying than doing God’s will – being where he wants you to be and doing what he wants you to do.

Jesus says, ‘I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest’ (v.35). This was fulfilled by the coming of Jesus. The disciples can see that the time is right because people everywhere need to know this message about Jesus.

Jesus said, ‘I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labour’ (v.38). This, of course, originally applied to the coming of Jesus. However, again it is fulfilled at a different level in many ways.

For example, I feel that we are reaping now as a local church – and also with Alpha – what others have sown. For many years, people have prayed for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit at HTB. Many worked hard in developing Alpha. We are reaping what others have sown. Now we must sow so that others can reap.


Lord, I pray that you would use my testimony so that many others may believe in you.

Old Testament

Judges 2:6–3:31

Disobedience and Defeat

6 After Joshua had dismissed the Israelites, they went to take possession of the land, each to their own inheritance. 7 The people served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the LORD had done for Israel.

8 Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died at the age of a hundred and ten. 9 And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Heres in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.

10 After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel. 11 Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baals. 12 They forsook the LORD, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They aroused the LORD’s anger 13 because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. 14 In his anger against Israel the LORD gave them into the hands of raiders who plundered them. He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist. 15 Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the LORD was against them to defeat them, just as he had sworn to them. They were in great distress.

16 Then the LORD raised up judges, who saved them out of the hands of these raiders. 17 Yet they would not listen to their judges but prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped them. They quickly turned from the ways of their ancestors, who had been obedient to the LORD’s commands. 18 Whenever the LORD raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived; for the LORD relented because of their groaning under those who oppressed and afflicted them. 19 But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their ancestors, following other gods and serving and worshiping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways.

20 Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel and said, “Because this nation has violated the covenant I ordained for their ancestors and has not listened to me, 21 I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations Joshua left when he died. 22 I will use them to test Israel and see whether they will keep the way of the LORD and walk in it as their ancestors did.” 23 The LORD had allowed those nations to remain; he did not drive them out at once by giving them into the hands of Joshua.

3 These are the nations the LORD left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Canaan 2 (he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience): 3 the five rulers of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites living in the Lebanon mountains from Mount Baal Hermon to Lebo Hamath. 4 They were left to test the Israelites to see whether they would obey the LORD’s commands, which he had given their ancestors through Moses.

5 The Israelites lived among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 6 They took their daughters in marriage and gave their own daughters to their sons, and served their gods.


7 The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD; they forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs. 8 The anger of the LORD burned against Israel so that he sold them into the hands of Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram Naharaim, to whom the Israelites were subject for eight years. 9 But when they cried out to the LORD, he raised up for them a deliverer, Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, who saved them. 10 The Spirit of the LORD came on him, so that he became Israel’s judge and went to war. The LORD gave Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram into the hands of Othniel, who overpowered him. 11 So the land had peace for forty years, until Othniel son of Kenaz died.


12 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, and because they did this evil the LORD gave Eglon king of Moab power over Israel. 13 Getting the Ammonites and Amalekites to join him, Eglon came and attacked Israel, and they took possession of the City of Palms. 14 The Israelites were subject to Eglon king of Moab for eighteen years.

15 Again the Israelites cried out to the LORD, and he gave them a deliverer —Ehud , a left-handed man, the son of Gera the Benjamite. The Israelites sent him with tribute to Eglon king of Moab. 16 Now Ehud had made a double-edged sword about a cubit long, which he strapped to his right thigh under his clothing. 17 He presented the tribute to Eglon king of Moab, who was a very fat man. 18 After Ehud had presented the tribute, he sent on their way those who had carried it. 19 But on reaching the stone images near Gilgal he himself went back to Eglon and said, “Your Majesty, I have a secret message for you.”

The king said to his attendants, “Leave us!” And they all left.

20 Ehud then approached him while he was sitting alone in the upper room of his palace and said, “I have a message from God for you.” As the king rose from his seat, 21 Ehud reached with his left hand, drew the sword from his right thigh and plunged it into the king’s belly. 22 Even the handle sank in after the blade, and his bowels discharged. Ehud did not pull the sword out, and the fat closed in over it. 23 Then Ehud went out to the porch; he shut the doors of the upper room behind him and locked them.

24 After he had gone, the servants came and found the doors of the upper room locked. They said, “He must be relieving himself in the inner room of the palace.” 25 They waited to the point of embarrassment, but when he did not open the doors of the room, they took a key and unlocked them. There they saw their lord fallen to the floor, dead.

26 While they waited, Ehud got away. He passed by the stone images and escaped to Seirah. 27 When he arrived there, he blew a trumpet in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went down with him from the hills, with him leading them.

28 “Follow me,” he ordered, “for the LORD has given Moab, your enemy, into your hands. ” So they followed him down and took possession of the fords of the Jordan that led to Moab; they allowed no one to cross over. 29 At that time they struck down about ten thousand Moabites, all vigorous and strong; not one escaped. 30 That day Moab was made subject to Israel, and the land had peace for eighty years.


31 After Ehud came Shamgar son of Anath, who struck down six hundred Philistines with an oxgoad. He too saved Israel.


Thank God for leaders who deliver

Have you ever found your faith being tested? COVID-19, challenges at work, difficult relationships, temptations, health issues – these are all tests. The people of God are often tested (2:22; 3:1,4). What matters is how you respond in times of testing.

We see in this passage a recurring pattern that runs throughout the book of Judges:

  1. Disobedience
    ‘Another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel… they forsook the LORD… they followed and worshipped various gods of the peoples around them’ (2:10,12)
  2. Disaster
    God’s response was to allow disaster, so that they might turn back to him: ‘The LORD handed them over… He sold them to their enemies’ (v.14).
  3. Distress
    This understandably left the people ‘in great distress’ (v.15).
  4. Deliverance
    When they got into trouble they cried out to the LORD and he raised up judges ‘who saved them’ (v.16). The word translated ‘judge’ (shophet) has a wide meaning in Hebrew. It can also mean ‘deliverer’ – anyone who brings about justice or sets things right.

The first of these ‘deliverers’ is Othniel. ‘The Spirit of the LORD came upon him’ (3:10). Othniel was anointed** by the Spirit of God, and it was this anointing that enabled him to deliver the people and establish forty years of peace (v.11).

Once again though, the people slipped into disobedience and disaster (vv.12–14) and cried out to God for a deliverer (v.15).

God delivered the people in a fascinating, if rather unpleasant, way (v.21). Ehud must have been an extremely courageous and brave man to walk right into enemy territory alone, with a sword hidden on him. It was a crazy thing to do, but for the fact that God was with him. And it was remarkably successful. Once again, the land had peace. This time for eighty years (v.30).

God sometimes uses people who are not part of the people of God to deliver his people. Shamgar may have been a Canaanite (see 5:6). He was a powerful man: he ‘struck down six hundred Philistines with an ox-goad. He too saved Israel’ (3:31).

These leaders only brought temporary peace, ‘as long as the judge lived’ (2:18).

All this only foreshadows, in rather a murky and inadequate way, the great work of Jesus, the Saviour of the world. Jesus is the great deliverer. Through his death and resurrection, he has delivered you. He is your Saviour. The Holy Spirit now lives within you (Romans 8:9). He gives you power and wisdom so that you too can make a difference with your life.


Lord, today I cry out to you for deliverance from all the difficulties, troubles and fears that I face today. I praise and thank you for your great deliverance through my Saviour Jesus Christ.

Pippa adds

In Judges 3:15, it says that God gave them a deliverer – Ehud, a left-handed man.

I am left-handed, so this makes me feel affirmed. I tried to work out the advantage of being left-handed in this story, and how the manoeuvre would have worked when ‘Ehud reached with his left hand, drew the sword from his right thigh and plunged it into the king’s belly’ (v.21). It is slightly revolting to read how the sword disappeared completely into the king’s enormous belly and kills him (v.22). However, the result was eighty years of peace (v.30), which must have been good.



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Jackie Pullinger has been in ministry in Hong Kong since 1966. Her work has resulted in thousands of addicts being set free from their addictions. I will talk more about Jackie on Day 336. To read her full story see, Chasing the Dragon by Jackie Pullinger (Hodder & Stoughton, 2006).

The Bible with Nicky and Pippa Gumbel (commentary formerly known as Bible in One Year) ©Alpha International 2009. All Rights Reserved.

Compilation of daily Bible readings © Hodder & Stoughton Limited 1988. Published by Hodder & Stoughton Limited as the Bible in One Year.

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. (

Scripture quotations marked MSG are taken from The Message, copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers.

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