"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Friday, January 15, 2010

Looking at the OT: Is God a Savior?

Recently I had a post about God our Savior and wondered "out loud" if Savior were a word you used to describe God. Islam is famous for having the 99 names of Allah, but I'm not sure if Savior is one of them. Ever since I wrote that post I've mused off and on about God being a savior. I even looked up verses from the concordance that mentioned "savior" or "salvation" focusing especially on the Old Testament although one verse from the NT caught my attention. Here are a few of the verses from the OT. I purposefully focused on these because I want to see if GOD - not Jesus - is known as "savior." And the quote from Mary was before Jesus' birth so I think it's valid as well. Read these and tell me what you think.

11 I, even I, am the LORD,
and apart from me there is no savior. (Read in context here -- Isaiah 43)

4 "But I am the LORD your God,
who brought you out of Egypt.
You shall acknowledge no God but me,
no Savior except me. (Read in context here -- Hosea 13)

16 You will drink the milk of nations
and be nursed at royal breasts.
Then you will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior,
your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. (Read in context here -- Isaiah 60)

7 But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD,
I wait for God my Savior;
my God will hear me. (Read in context here -- Micah 7)

46And Mary said:
"My soul glorifies the Lord
47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant. (Read in context here -- Luke 1)

So do you think the people thought of God as savior only in the sense of delivering them from their enemies? Kind of a Moses, Joshua, David or Saladin type?

There are more verses such as those from the Psalms that talk of salvation being from the Lord. Again, is this only physical salvation from hardships and those who would hurt us?

Here are verses about salvation.

Interestingly enough, when King David speaks of salvation in Psalm 51, he mentions sins and not deliverance from the Amalekites or someone trying to take his throne. This was his prayer of repentance after his sin with Bathsheba. Here is part of it. Notice the reference to God's role in salvation.

7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

9 Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will turn back to you.

14 Save me from bloodguilt, O God,
the God who saves me,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.

I think David certainly thought of God as his salvation. Check out Psalm 40.

1 I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.

2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.

(I didn't lift my own self out of this icky pit and clean myself. HE did it.)

3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.

4 Blessed is the man
who makes the LORD his trust,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.

5 Many, O LORD my God,
are the wonders you have done.
The things you planned for us
no one can recount to you;
were I to speak and tell of them,
they would be too many to declare.

6 Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but my ears you have pierced ;
burnt offerings and sin offerings
you did not require.

7 Then I said, "Here I am, I have come—
it is written about me in the scroll.

8 I desire to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart."

9 I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly;
I do not seal my lips,
as you know, O LORD.

10 I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;
I speak of your faithfulness and salvation.
I do not conceal your love and your truth
from the great assembly.

11 Do not withhold your mercy from me, O LORD;
may your love and your truth always protect me.

12 For troubles without number surround me;
my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see.
They are more than the hairs of my head,
and my heart fails within me.

13 Be pleased, O LORD, to save me;
O LORD, come quickly to help me.

14 May all who seek to take my life
be put to shame and confusion;
may all who desire my ruin
be turned back in disgrace.

15 May those who say to me, "Aha! Aha!"
be appalled at their own shame.

16 But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation always say,
"The LORD be exalted!"

(This is why I often say it's all about Him and not our "good deeds." To GOD be the glory - He is the one who has redeemed and saved us!)

17 Yet I am poor and needy;
may the Lord think of me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
O my God, do not delay.

Is God the savior? A savior? Thoughts?


Unknown said...

I think of God as the savior and think that is the view in the Bible as well.

Suroor said...

I believe God is definitely the saviour.

You mentioned Islam. In Islam, God is seen as saviour as well, and interestingly even Jesus is believed to be the saviour for he is the messiah who will return to earth, turn everyone Muslim, kill all the pigs, break all the crosses, end *jizya* (non-Muslim subjugation tax) and will get married and have a family! Because he will make everyone Muslim, he shall be the saviour for all humankind.

Niki said...

This reminded me of Jude 25:

"To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen."

Anonymous said...

Very interesting post. I view God as my savior-it has been my belief always-no matter the religion.

Susanne said...

Sanil, thanks for chiming in. :)

Suroor, wow, that's quite a different view of Jesus as Savior than I have! :-D Thanks for sharing the Islamic POV on that. Hmmm

Niki, great verse!

IAN, that's great to know. Thanks for your reply!