The Cry that Brings Deliveranceby Jonathan Friz on September 17, 2019
The Cry that Brings Deliverance
By Jonathan Friz
As evil continues to mature and grow stronger globally, and Christians around the globe face increasing pressures, God is using the pressure of growing evil from outside coupled with the Spirit’s inner work to elicit an unprecedented response from the global church. The result is going to be a Cry for Deliverance that God will not ignore
The Way God Brings Deliverance
One thing we know about God is that He loves to bring deliverance to His people. We see this pattern repeated throughout Scripture at the Exodus, throughout Israel’s History, and ultimately at the Cross. But How does God bring great deliverance?
Deliverance in Scripture always comes in response to something called “The Cry”.
Exodus 2:23-25: "Now it came about in the course of many days that the king of Egypt died. And the sons of Israel groaned [sighed, moaned] because of their bondage [labor], and they cried out, and their cry for help ascended to God. So God heard their groaning and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and God saw the sons of Israel and God knew them."
“The Cry” brings about a response from God that has four aspects (v24-25):
1. So God heard their groaning
2. And God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
3. God saw the sons of Israel
4. And God knew them (Yada)
The Cry is something that seems very bad: it comes forth because of “oppression” and “injustice” and “suffering”. Keep in mind that this is not some theoretical suffering; it is very real to the Sons of Israel who are experiencing daily the trials of slavery and even having their children murdered!
The Cry has an involuntary component. It happens to you when you are suffering but also a voluntary component as we can resist it or partner with the Cry.
A Cry that moves God to respond can come from many different sources including nations, the land, and even truly unrighteous people! Here is a partial list of Biblical examples of a Cry that moved God to respond and act:
o Individuals (Gen 21:17—Ishmael)
o Righteous people (Hezekiah, Hannah, David)
o Unrighteous people (Ahab)
o Nations (Exodus)
o Blood (Gen. 4:10)
o Sin (Genesis 18:21)
o The Land/Earth (Lev. 18:24-25, Gen 4:10)
o The whole Creation (Rom. 8)
The Cry is one concept: It’s a call for help to God while suffering injustice or pain that provokes a righteous response from God. However, many different words in the Bible describe this reality. A few examples of words that speak to the Cry are: mourning, desire, lamentation, groan, childbirth metaphor, patient waiting, fasting, suffering, eager expectation, hope, labor, intercession, prayer, humility, help, wait for the Lord, silence, pour out the heart, bitterness.
“The Cry” moves God to intervene: It makes him “hear”, “remember”, “see”, and “know” us.
In God’s economy, the Cry is what moves Him to bring deliverance, glorify His name, and advance His Covenant over time. This in no way contradicts his sovereignty, but rather the two are in agreement!
If you’re like me, you probably grew up with a view of God where prayer did not make a lot of sense.
God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good. Why would my speaking to Him affect God in any way? Why would he need me to say magic words in order to act or do something? Clearly, He can do whatever He wants.
While it’s true that God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good, this perspective on God’s sovereignty overlooks the pathways God uses to expresses that power, knowledge, and goodness. The Cry is one of those pathways. He’s committed to working according to His own ways.
As it turns out, God is not much for unilateral action, preferring to express His power, knowledge, and goodness through partnership. As the Scripture says, “God’s ways are not our ways.” Since He doesn’t seem inclined to change, it behooves us to learn His ways, especially as we seem to be an integral part of the plan!
Learning to see this Biblical Pattern
Once you start to notice this pattern in Scripture, you can’t un-see it—it’s everywhere! Entire books of the Bible are built around the Cry.
Example 1: The Pattern of Judges:
1) Judges 3:7: Sin: Israel Does Evil
2) Judges 3:8: Oppression: God sells them (gives them over) to their enemies
3) Judges 3:9: The Cry: Israel cries out to the Lord because of the oppression
4) Judges 3:9: Deliverance: God sends a deliverer
5) Judges 3:12: Peace: There is a season of Peace
The pattern first seen here in Judges 3:7 repeats 12 times in the Book of Judges. It’s literally built around a theology of the Cry! As we will soon see, Oppression can come to God’s people either through their own fault as in the book of Judges or through no fault of their own.
Example 2: The Pattern of 2 Chronicles chapters 10-36
2 Chronicles is another Old Testament Book built around the theology of the Cry. The famous 2 Chronicles 7:14 is the paradigmatic verse: “If my people, who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land."
Through chapters 10-36, we see this pattern replaying over and over.
1) Sometimes Israel’s sin leads to affliction (12:1-7) …Sometimes they are righteous and innocent but persecuted (20:1-13)
2) Affliction, Oppression, Invasion come against Israel
3) The Cry: The people do the 2 Chronicles 7:14 thing…they humble themselves (fast), pray, seek God’s face, and turn from wicked ways
The entire pattern repeats itself throughout the book of 2 Chronicles chapters 10-36. Each story is different, illustrating the variation possible within this basic pattern.
The Cry: Post-Biblical Examples
Lest we think that God’s ways have changed, we have notable examples of how God continues to respond to the Cry in more modern history.
Example 3: Slavery in the USA
1) Oppression and Slavery inflicted on Slaves
2) A Cry went up from the slaves themselves and from righteous men and women who stood with them as intercessors
3) God brought a great deliverance at great cost to those who oppressed them (the south) and those who were complicit (the north)
4) There was a season of peace with freedom enshrined for former slaves in the 13th-15th Amendments
The slaves understood themselves to be like Israel enslaved in Egypt. Far from a “stretch”, this was not far from Lincoln’s own understanding of what was happening. He had a dream that led to the passage of the 13th amendment (outlawing slavery). The dream clearly meant that for the United States to have rest, slavery would have to be eradicated forever.
You can see how Lincoln is thinking Biblically about slavery in his Second Inaugural Address, just weeks before He was murdered on Good Friday in 1865:
“…The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood d rawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."
The Cry Case Study: A Deep Dive into the Exodus
"Now it came about in the course of many days that the king of Egypt died. And the sons of Israel groaned [sighed, moaned] because of their bondage [labor], and they cried out, and their cry for help ascended to God. So God heard their groaning and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and God saw the sons of Israel and God knew them."
The “Cry” of the sons of Israel brings a response from God that has four aspects (v24-25):
1. So God heard their groaning
2. And God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
3. God saw the sons of Israel
4. And God knew them (Yada)
God has clearly been aware of what’s happening to Israel the entire time. However, the ascension of the cry produces a “Covenant Response” where He begins to act in accordance with His covenant promises.
In Response to the Cry, God first appoints Moses as a deliverer
“I have seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and I have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrow [pain]. So I have:"
1) Come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians
2) To bring them up to a land flowing with milk and honey
The Cry is because of Oppression, But God has more in mind than just deliverance from oppression: While the Cry goes up because of affliction, with the mention of the promised land, and the revelation of God’s name “I AM” we begin to see that God’s purpose is greater than simply freeing Israel from oppression, but also includes God taking the Abrahamic covenant to the “next step” by giving Israel the blessings of the promised land.
Exodus 3:18: Freedom to Worship God is the “pretext” that God uses to establish his quarrel with Pharaoh…but it’s more than a pretext as this is God’s ultimate goal—to find a way to dwell with His people (Exodus 40:34-35)
The Deliverer Confronts Pharoah
As God begins to move, things get worse before they get better:
· Moses’ initial approach to Pharoah makes the oppression worse for the Israelites
· Pharaoh does more evil to God’s people
· Israel’s cry to God and Moses becomes greater!
God Reveals More of His Heart: This increased Cry discourages Israel and Moses but also causes God to reveal more of His plan and purposes through Pharaoh. God is planning to bring Reciprocal Judgment on Pharaoh and Egypt, Fuller Revelation of who He is (His Glory), and a Wedding so that He can dwell with His people.
Exodus 6 v. 1 Just as Pharaoh has put God’s people under a “strong hand” (forced labor, compulsion), so God will put Pharaoh under a “strong hand” and drive out His people by force. (In general, God’s judgments of Pharaoh/Egypt will be symmetrical to the injustice of Pharaoh/Egypt).
v.2-3 God emphasizes that He is revealing “His Name” at this time in an unprecedented way to Moses and Israel (revelation of the glory of God)—this has never happened before
v. 5-8 In response to the cry of Israel God has heard and remembered His Covenant. He promises these actions
1) He will bring Israel out from under the burdens of Egypt
2) He will rescue Israel from bondage (slavery)
3) He will redeem [kinsman redeemer/marriage and covenant language] Israel with great judgments
4) He will take Israel as His own people and He will be their God (Marriage language)
Israel is Crying out because of oppression, but God has more on mind than simple deliverance. Their
“Cry” triggers a divine response with 3 major goals.
1) Judgment on the oppressors of His people and Deliverance for His people
2) Greater Revelation of who God is (His glory) both to His people and to His enemies. God repeatedly makes known His intention to glorify His name and is revealing Himself by His name “YHWH” for the first time
3) Taking Israel as His people and becoming their God (Covenant Marriage between God and His people) so that he can dwell with them (Exodus 40)
The Cry of God’s people is God’s strategy to advance His own “Covenant Agenda”.
In summary, it looks like: Oppression leads to The Cry leads to Covenant Advancement leads to Greater Revelation of God’s Nature leads to Greater Worship and a Marriage of God and His People.
God’s Judgments: Making Egypt Cry Out!
As the plagues of Egypt increase, Pharaoh’s heart is hardened first by himself and then by God. But Pharaoh refuses to “cry out” even as the plagues increase—instead he requests “prayer” from Moses. Prayer can have the same sense of “cry” but here, the contrast shows us that the plagues have not yet penetrated Pharaoh’s hard heart. God intends to make Pharaoh and Egypt “Cry Out” just as they have made Israel “Cry out”. As the drama escalates, we see God’s heart to pay back Egypt in full for what they have done to the sons of Israel.
Exodus 11:6 God promises His final judgment will release an unprecedented “cry” from Egypt.
Exodus 12:29-30: Egypt as a nation suffers a “great cry” as the first born in each family are killed.
Exodus 14: Israel passes through the waters in an unlikely escape (like Moses) but the Egyptian sons are drowned (as Pharaoh drowned the Israelite boys in Exodus 1:22).
Dimensions of Reciprocal Judgment and Deliverance Released by the Cry of Israel:
· Pharaoh put Israel under bondage--forced labor, no freedom all for the glory of his name; God hardened Pharaoh’s heart (lack of freedom) and laid affliction on him and his people for the glory of HIS name
· Egypt afflicted Israel, causing them to “Cry out”. Now God’s judgment has brought that back on their own head, causing a “Great Cry” from all Egypt.
· Egypt plundered Israel through forced labor; Israel plunders Egypt as they leave, taking the treasures of the Egyptians.
· Egypt afflicted Israel, God’s “Firstborn” Israel. God has afflicted the firstborn of Egypt
· Pharaoh threw the Israelite sons into the Nile river. Now God has thrown the Egyptian sons into the Sea
· Just as Moses was saved through the water as a forerunner, so now the entire nation has been rescued through the water
Song and Sovereignty: The Aftermath
Sovereignty: Exodus 12:40-41: We learn that the departure of the children of Israel is taking place in exact accordance to God’s prophetic plan: Exactly 430 years to the day after they arrived in Egypt. God’s Sovereignty and foreknowledge are in full view, however, that does not remove the importance of “the Cry” in moving God to action. Our voice matters to God’s purposes and human history. God’s sovereignty works through His people; we are His appointed means to act in the earth!
Song: Exodus 14:31 Thus Israel saw the great work which the Lord had done in Egypt. So the people feared the LORD and believed the LORD and His servant Moses. The Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the LORD…
Because of God’s deliverance, God’s people enter into another type of semi-involuntary cry—praise and exultation! The Cry of oppression is turned into the shout of victory and the song of the Lord and of Moses. “The Song” is an inverse response to “The Cry”, a semi-involuntary response to goodness (as opposed to oppression and evil).
The Cry that Brings Deliverance: Deliver us from Global Babylon
So, what do these Biblical patterns and principles have to do with us today. While we don’t need to be delivered from literal slavery in a literal Egypt, as it turns out, we have much bigger problems than Israel, more insidious oppression, and a much greater deliverance that’s needed.
From Exodus to Revelation:
As many students of Scripture have noted, Revelation is an “Exodus” story, one that is yet to unfold. To put it another way, we are currently in the position of Israel in Egypt, oppressed by this current age, but positioned (knowingly or unknowingly) for a great deliverance and a great transition from this present age to the age to come.
The story of the Exodus is referenced explicitly and implicitly numerous times in Revelation. The patterns are the same in both books:
· In Exodus, God moves in response to the Cry of His people and sends plagues on Egypt to bring about judgment and a great deliverance, advancing the Covenant and resulting in a divine marriage (Ex. 40).
· In Revelation, God moves on behalf of His Son, the Lamb who was slain (Rev. 5:6), the prayer and worship of the saints (Rev. 5:8), the cries of the martyrs (Rev. 6:9-11), to bring about judgment on His enemies (Rev. 6,) and deliverance for his people from “every nation, tribe, people, and language” (Rev. 7:9-17), advancing His covenant and resulting in a divine marriage (Rev. 19-21).
This next Exodus will not be localized in Egypt, it will be a global event. The end result will be a total answer to the prayer Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy Kingdom Come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. Afterwards, it will be said, “The Kingdoms of this world have become the Kingdom of our God, and of His Christ”. The deliverance will not only be from slavery to human masters, but from slavery to death, decay, futility, and all the affects of the fall. Our new Freedom will not be merely political, but the freedom to be fully human in the likeness of the resurrected Jesus Christ, with incorruptible, glorious bodies, fully renewed minds, and fully united to God and one another by the Holy Spirit.
Remember the main theme: We are not passive observers in this second Exodus. Instead, our voice, our testimony, and our Cry are keys to unlocking the entire thing!
As with the Exodus, God will bring deliverance for His people in response to our Cry!
Positive and Negative Pressure: The pressures that provoke this cry from God’s people are both exogenous, external, negative pressure, like what we see in the Exodus, but also internal, positive desires provoked by the Holy Spirit.
Exogenous Pressure: The Cry from God’s people will come forth from a combination of factors including suffering, oppression, persecution, martyrdom, the growing sinfulness of the world as well as sorrow over the ongoing death and corruption of the world which will not end until the Lord returns.
Internal Pressure (Desire): The Cry from God’s people will also come forth because of the Spirit’s work in us, which produces desire to see the Glory of God, a hunger and thirst for righteousness, agreement with God in His purposes, and an increasing longing for the Lord’s Return.
Together, compelled by inner and outer forces reaching a historical climax, there will be a Cry from God’s people:
1) For Deliverance from great affliction and persecution and from the slavery of death, corruption, and this evil age
2) For the manifest glory of God to be revealed (“May the Lamb receive the reward of His suffering”)
3) From the Bride to the Bridegroom, a cry of anxious lovesickness and longing for full union
From Suffering, Groans and Slavery to Glory, Redemption, and Freedom!
With the Exodus and Revelation fresh in our minds, let’s read this famous passage about the Cry that is currently ascending to the throne from the created order and especially from us as “co-heirs” with Christ who are now on the earth.
Romans 8: 18-26: 18 :"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, [i]in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. 24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.."
The internal dynamic described in Romans 8:18-26 will reach a climax as the Lord returns. Right now, we are experiencing the “beginnings of birth pangs”, but a great birth is coming, a birth that will result in the total redemption of every aspect of Creation and the full revelation of who we are in Christ!
Conclusion: As described in Revelation chapter 18, Babylon [Pharaoh, Egypt] refuses to mourn [to repent of injustice and cry-out]. In contrast, God’s people will mourn (Matt. 9:15) [enter into the Cry] before the Lord returns. This mourning—this cry in God’s economy [God’s way of operating] is what releases divine deliverance from the injustice and futility of this age, reveals the glory of God, and brings about the divine marriage between the King of Kings and His Holy People!
Jonathan Friz is driven by a desire to see Jesus receive the answer to His prayer in John 17, “Let them be one as we are one.” He’s the visionary of the 10 Days prayer movement, seeking to draw city-wide churches around the world into annual seasons of encountering the living God and loving one another. He and his wife Cassi are blessed with six incredible children.