Before Israel was even a nation, God called out to them. To a people in bondage, “Here I Am.” He did mighty works for them but they didn’t stay faithful. A NEW group will!
A few days ago, I was wondering about the fact that God did much bigger miracles in the early years of Israel’s history. Today speaks to that. God was getting their attention!
God was a friend of Abraham. It took him a while before he TRULY trusted in God. Abram tried to work things out on his own several times and wound up getting in trouble. And being corrected by God. The two times he passed his wife off as his sister are prime examples of that. By the time God was ready to send him the son of promise, Abraham believed in Him. By the time Abraham took Isaac up onto the mountain he trusted God with his WHOLE heart!
Isaac learned about God from the time he was born. We don’t see special relationship examples with him like we do with Abraham but he trusted in God enough to bless his son before his death. He made a point to do it too. I just thought of something; Isaac was NOT on death’s doorstep when he asked to bless his son Esau. He was alive when Jacob was sent away to find a wife among his mother’s people.
Jacob was taught about God as a youth. His mother’s encounter with God, regarding the twins she was carrying, instilled in her a desire to push him to the front in everything. She taught him how to scheme. Jacob’s dream on the way to find a wife set the compass for his life. “If You will bless me, I will serve you all my life.” Later on, Jacob’s encounter with the angel of God left him with a permanent reminder. He honored God as he had promised and passed on his blessing to his children, including Joseph’s children.
Joseph served the Lord his whole life. In good times and in bad, he relied on God. He trusted the dreams he was given and did not doubt their messages. He wasn’t a perfect brother; at least not in the ‘Nobody tell on nobody and nobody gets in trouble’ world. He did his father’s will and he seemed to take no perverse pleasure in the fact of his father’s obvious favor. When called upon to care for the people of the land, he did so with wisdom. He also recognized God’s hand on his life when his birth family was in need of saving. “What you meant for evil, God meant for good.” He also trusted FULLY in the promises God made to his father, grandfather, and great grandfather. He KNEW beyond a shadow of a doubt that his descendants would leave Egypt one day and return to the land God had promises his ancestors.
During the 500 years in Egypt, God’s people didn’t maintain that same kind of relationship with Him. They knew of the stories and they had the old promises to hold onto. But they bowed down to other gods. They worshiped as the Egyptians did. They were not separate in their distinction of faith. They were separate in race and role in Egypt and still lived in the land given to them by Joseph.
Along comes Moses. God singled out Moses for a purpose. He didn’t tell him what it would be until MUCH later in his life. This is when God introduced Himself as I Am. THIS is the point at which God begins His work of proving Himself and establishing His name before the nations. Proving Himself faithful to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And proving His supremacy over ALL other gods.
I have no doubt that the Hebrews had the stories of God while in Egypt. I have no doubt that many of them still clung to the promises given to Abraham and Jacob. But most of them were resigned to the life they led; slaving away in Egypt with no end in sight. God needed to prove to them that their time of freedom was NOW and that He would take them out of Egypt. Period!
God did amazing works in the sight of everyone. He began to distinguish between His people and the Egyptians as His people grew more confident in Him. He made it so uncomfortable for Egypt to keep the Hebrews that they literally DROVE THEM OUT when the time came. EVERY LAST ONE of Jacob’s descendants left Egypt that night. It didn’t matter if some of them wanted to stay. Egypt wouldn’t allow it because God saw to it that they were TERRIFIED to have them about.
Israel wasn’t asking for signs when God called to Moses. It took ALL of His works, including parting the Red Sea, to get them to completely buy into this new nation on a journey business. And it was the second generation who actually surrendered to Him. Mana in the morning, water from the rock, His commandments brought down, victories along the way, PUNISHMENT for doubting/testing/abandoning Him, and His ever-present presence with them molded them into His people. He proved Himself faithful ALL THE WAY. He was still establishing Israel as a nation and His name as their God as they followed Him in conquering the Promised Land.
After Israel settled in the promised land the miracles were farther between. Many were still AMAZING and set His people apart. One of my favorites is the overnight demise of the Assyrian army with 185,000 dead without Judah even firing a shot.
When we reach Daniel we will see God perform miracles for His people in captivity. This distinguished between those who served Him and those who didn’t. Not every Israelite or Jew received these special miracles. Only the ones who were faithful to Him, even in hardship.
In Ezra we see the remnant of the people return to Israel. Those who returned were the ones who wanted to serve the Lord. Those who didn’t, had no desire to return. They were fine where they were. The miracles of that time were amazing too but not particularly grand.
As time went on and even the remnant began to turn away, God became silent. He remained silent until the time of Jesus.
Jesus’ life was filled with miracles. He too was establishing His name and defining those who followed Him. Everywhere He went, His miracles drew people unto Him. Some listened to His teachings and others were offended by them. He would be the dividing line from that point on. Those who accepted Him and His substitution work would be His forever. Those who didn’t, would be lost.
We still have miracles today but not on the scale of bible days. But there is coming a time where amazing signs will be seen again. That time is after the church has been removed. I believe these signs are, once again, a dividing line. Those who surrender their lives to Him after the rapture will be set apart. God will be their covering. He will again distinguish His name above ALL other names and mark His people as His own. One miracle that I’m hoping I get to see from Heaven is the resurrection of the two witnesses. They will be beheaded by the servants of the Beast and their bodies will lay in the streets for three days. THEN they will stand up and prophecy again after the three days! If THAT doesn’t blow some socks off, I don’t know what will.
I’m thinking that the reason we don’t see miracles on the GRAND scale right now is that those who know Him as their Lord already KNOW His name. He proved Himself with the resurrection of Jesus. Those who put their faith in Him don’t require any more proof to know that He is God. The miracles He does do today are gifts of love to His children; not acts of establishing His name. They are just as important as any other miracle He ever did, but they are for a people who KNOW Him. I don’t NEED miracles to tell me who God is. But I PRAISE Him for every one of them He works in my life!!!
Father God, THANK YOU for calling out “Here I Am” to me. For drawing me unto You and proving Yourself faithful in my life. I don’t need a ‘parting of the Red Sea’ but You parted the smoke for me instead. THANK YOU for making me Yours! I wish I knew what miracle to ask for with each of my children and grandchildren that would bring them running to You. Only You know what it will take to turn their hearts towards You. All of a sudden I have a desire to sit with each of them and ask them exactly what they do believe. If this is from YOU, please bring about an opportunity. If it’s not, let my heart be settled with leaving them in YOUR hands.