Deliver those who are drawn toward death, And hold back those stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, Surely we did not know this, Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it? He who keeps your soul, does He not know it? And will He not render to each man according to his deeds? (Proverbs 24:11, 12 NKJV)
When I read this verse I get the mental image of a drunken man stumbling into the path of a mac truck. If you saw a man stumbling, would you try to rescue him? Even if he resisted you in his drunkenness, would you persist? I hope you would. I hope you would do everything in your power to stop him from stumbling into his death.
Drunkenness is similar to the sinful state that people of the world are in. In a drunken state a person is apt to do things that a normal minded person would not do. Even so, people that are bound up in sin are under the power of sin. Remember when Paul said, “It is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.”? The power of sin begins to take over and begins to draw a person towards death. James said:
“Desire when it is conceived, brings forth sin; and sin when it is full grown, brings forth death.”
Now people make their own decision to sin. They are drawn away by their own desires and enticed. But after sin takes root, it becomes a controlling factor in their lives that is less of a choice than when it first began. Smoking is a good example of this. The desire to first smoke usually comes from some type of outward factor, like peer pressure, or the smell of the smoke, or the appeal of the smoker’s ‘cool’ appearance. It comes first as a choice, but then it wraps its dark tentacles around its victim to entrap them. Now you have many people who desire to quit smoking, who find it very difficult. It’s the power of sin.
This is why we must deliver people. Some of them don’t even know it, but they are stumbling towards the slaughter. Some know it, but have not been able to escape.
“He that sins, is a slave to sin.” Jesus says. Sin becomes the master of the one who commits it. The mad man of the gadarenes was an extreme example of this. He most likely toyed with the powers of the dark world. I’m sure he mingled with unclean spirits and practiced a form of witchcraft. He dabbled with spells and incantations. It was fun at first and exciting to play with this dark power. But he didn’t know what he was getting himself into. He didn’t know that these dark spirits where using him. Soon he began to lose control as the demons began to enter him one by one. They drove him into the graveyard. His inner turmoil was so great that he began to cut himself to try to deaden the pain. He would shout at night in fear. He could not be bound by earthly chains because of these dark powers, but the inner chains were too strong for him to break.
Just like this, people are bound up everywhere. Only the power of Jesus Christ can set them free.
How do we set them free? We must become skilled rescuers. Our job is difficult because we not only need to set them free, but we must do it for many people who are blind to the fact that they are bound, or else know they are bound, but unconvinced that we have the answer.
My dog Frank would often chew through the blanket that we left with him in his cage. When we would return from whatever we were doing, we would find that he completely chewed through the blanket and then would get his head stuck in the hole that he chewed. When we opened the cage to let him out he would not be able to come out of the cage, because he was caught with the blanket around his neck. I would get scissors to cut him out, but when I did it he would try to bite me!
Even so, sinners will get themselves into a terrible mess and try to bite you when attempt to help them out. We must be skilled. We must learn how to work like a surgeon. The surgeon applies anesthesia before inserting the knife.
It’s not an easy job, but we must do it. Look what the wisest man said, “If you say, Surely we did not know this, Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it? He who keeps your soul, does He not know it? And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?” A plea of ignorance will not work. Nor a plea of powerlessness, because we can do all things IN Christ and greater is He that lives in us than he that lives in the world.
There is a world of chained people outside of our doors. You are not exempt from the duty to set them free. Lets do it together and, then, on the last great day, the Lord our God will look at us with delight and reward us; us and our spiritual children that He has given us.