“Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the Northeaster, swept down from the island (Acts 27:14 NIV).”
The name Maria will never be forgotten for so many people in the Caribbean who survived her wrath. After the Hurricane tore through Puerto Rico on Wednesday an email was sent out from the church office here at Jersey Village asking all members to pray for Shawn and Christie Biggers, two members who were in the Dominican Republic without any opportunity to escape. Although quarantined to their rooms for a few days they never felt they were in great peril although Maria had been quite destructive only a day before. Still, before she made landfall they solicited the prayers of the saints for their safety. Praise God they were back worshipping with us Sunday.
Rescuing His people from danger is what God does and does exceedingly well. God is glorified and delights in rescuing His people who call on Him (1 Samuel 12:22, Psalm 34:7). It is who He is. He is in the salvation business. In fact, the name Jesus means “Jehovah saves.” (1) Before Jesus’ birth, Joseph was told by an angel that the child Mary was bearing would be named Jesus, because “He will save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).”
There are multiple times recorded in the Bible when God saved His people from danger. Hezekiah was saved from the threat of the world’s most fearsome army (Isaiah 37:20, 36). David was rescued on multiple occasions from those seeking his life (1 Samuel 19:11-18, 23:26-29, Psalms 35, 40, 69). Daniel was saved from being mauled by lions (Daniel 6:22) and his three companions survived the fiery furnace (Daniel 3:16-18, 28). God still saves His people from dangers today. It is for His name’s sake that He saves His people (Psalm 79:9, 106:8, 143:11).
Some will protest, “What about those who perished from Maria’s lethal forces? What of those who died in the destruction of the earthquake in Mexico? Did God save His people on those occasions?” It is a difficult truth but all men will face death (Hebrews 9:27). Jesus said of those whom were killed when a tower fell upon them that they were no worse sinners then any others of their city (Luke 13:1-5). The importance is repentance so that one does not die spiritually. Death will come to all men, but even when death surrounds the Christian and closes in Jesus will even save them then. “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live (John 11:25).’”
Once, even Jesus cried to Him who was able to save Him from death, but God allowed Jesus to be delivered into the hands of evil men (Acts 2:23) in order to save us who are so undeserving. How much more does the name Jesus mean in light of this fact? He could have saved Himself (Matthew 26:53) but elected to give Himself up in order to save us (John 10:15-18).
The name Maria will be remembered for a while by many who suffered from her power. But for those who have experienced the salvation of the Lord they know that there is salvation in no other name than the name of Jesus (Acts 4:12). Like Shawn and Christie, we must all confront many tempests in our lifetimes. But if we continue to trust in the name of the Lord we need not fear even the deadliest force (Hebrews 2:13-15).
“Therefore my people shall know my name. Therefore in that day they shall know that it is I who speak; here I am (Isaiah 52:6 ESV).”
- George W. Knight, The Names of God, Barbour Publishing, Uhrichsville, Ohio, 2009, p. 131