Working Out Your Miracle
Miracles happen on earth in the power of God but a believer is first blessed by Him to see with his spiritual eyes, then seek through prayer and wait expectantly for it to finally materialize, while all the while maintaining a sense of gratitude.

Working Out Your Miracle

             Faith is the evidence of things not seen, for to receive what is visible, not faith but action is required. Faith provides one with the strength and way to live and the Holy Bible contains all details of success and failures for us to learn that people in the past lived in faith and saw miracles taking place in their lives. On the one hand Apostle Peter walked on water and yet denied the Lord, while on the other hand Saul saw and believed and became the great preacher Apostle Paul. But do miracles happen because of or despite us and do we have any role in these?

           Our role in a miracle – As per a Bible historian, the travel time of the Israelites from Goshen, in Egypt to Mount Sinai was of 47 days and after splitting of the rock for water at Horeb, (Exodus 19:3-4) Moses was called up by the LORD God. Then the command was given to tell the people to wash and prepare for three days to present themselves before the LORD. That was the Day of Pentecost for the covenant between God and man. It was the greatest miracle of all times that God came down to meet mankind to teach them His ways. The Israelites had seen the  plagues that afflicted the Egyptians and how at God’s command they asked for articles of silver, gold and clothing ‘to plunder the Egyptians’ (Exodus 3:22). God’s part in this miracle was to touch the hearts of the Egyptians and the Israelites role was to ask for all the things commanded by God.

          At the Red Sea the Israelites had the sea in front and the Egyptian army behind. The people then complained to Moses and said, ‘Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, ‘Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’ (Exodus 14:11-21). Moses assured the people to wait and ‘the LORD will fight for you’, but as he turned to God, the answer was, ‘Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward’. But there was no one ready to walk into the sea. Aaron was married to Elisheba, daughter of Aminadab, sister of Nahshon, of the tribe of Judah (Exodus 6:23) and legend has it that at that time only Nahshon stepped forward and walked into the sea. Nahshon kept moving forward and the water level reached the level of his head and he was drowning, while Moses was praying to the Lord for the miracle. It was then that God told Moses to act and stop praying. As per the command of God, Moses had stretched out his hand holding his rod over the sea, but initially nothing happened (Exodus 14:16). Seeing the faith of Nahshon the LORD caused the sea to become dry land the people could cross safely.

           Nahshon was greatly rewarded for this by the LORD. First, five heroes of Israel were among his descendents, David, Daniel, Chananiah, Mishael and Azariah; second, the tribe of Judah was given the eternal kingdom of Israel; third, the Messiah was also to be his descendent. Fourth, When Moses completed the Tabernacle in the wilderness, the princes of the twelve tribes offered special inaugural sacrifices and gifts (Numbers 7:12), Judah, despite not being the most senior tribe, the prince of Judah, Nahshon, was the first to bring his offerings. Faith is not about being certain of the end result but having the courage to live with the doubts and still move forward.

           Apostle Peter clearly states that, ‘no prophecy of Scripture is for private interpretation. For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit’ (2 Peter 1:20-21). The psalmist also declared ‘Your word is very pure’ and that is why nothing is hidden but clearly stated where people’s deeds of devotion and courage are listed with their complaints and works of apostasy (Psalm 119:140). This is what makes the Word so powerful, for we are not told that life will be very easy but that the journey is tough and long. It is necessary for us to understand that though the crises and storms will come suddenly but since the Creator Redeemer is with us always, we can handle the unexpected.  Apostle Paul, the great suffering Apostle, could confidently declare, ‘I can do all things (that He has called me to do) through Christ who strengthens (empowers me to fulfill His purpose and I am self-sufficient in Him and under His hand) (Philippians 4:13).    

          This same principle of man partnering with God to do miraculous deeds is seen when the Israelites enter the Promised Land. When the people moved forward, the Jordan River was flooded and as per command of the LORD God, Joshua commanded the Levite priests to enter the waters (Joshua 3:13-16). The depth and speed of flow of waters of a river in flood is difficult to fathom and they could have refused to enter but the fate of the entire nation depended on those four priests’ faith. ‘And as those who bore the Ark of the Covenant came to Jordan, and the feet of the priests who bore the Ark dipped in the edge of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks during the whole time of harvest) that the waters which came down from upstream stood still’.

          For moving the mountain, Lord Jesus commanded to ‘say to the mountain’ and the power of God will then move the mountain (Mark 11:23). Before the command to make disciples, Lord Jesus declared, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore’ (Matthew 28:18-19). Because He has all the power to help us, we can move forward in faith. When the disciples went out, the Lord was ‘working with them and confirming the word through accompanying signs’ (Mark 16:20). We have a role in operating the miracle and then God’s role is set in motion to make it happen.

         What is a miracle? It is an extraordinary, astonishing and welcome event that is beyond the natural and scientific laws and is therefore attributed to a divine source. It must be an out of the way event, pleasing and joyful beyond the natural ways and must surprise the one receiving and others learning about it. For an alien coming from another planet, probably the birth of a child would be the greatest miracle and is to us also but since we hear of this everyday it has become a common event for us. However, when nature does something unusual and against its laws, it is a miracle for us.

         But what is considered by the ‘Miracle Worker’ as a miracle that is welcome by Him and gives Him joy? In faith, Joshua commanded, ‘Sun, stand still over Gibeon; and Moon, in the valley of Aijalon’ and it happened but since God created man in His image and likeness, this was not exceptional for Him (Joshua 10:12-13). Nature changing its course temporarily is not considered a miracle in heaven but when man goes against his fallen nature that is a miracle. The All-Knowing God’s question to Eve after her transgression, ‘What is this you have done?’ is not to ask the details but to ask, ‘Are you aware of the consequences of your action?’ (Genesis 3:13).   

         The miracle of the parting of the Red Sea is described, ‘The sea saw it and fled’ and the Hebrew word ‘wayanos’ is used, meaning ‘flee, vanish, escape’ (Psalm 114:3). The same Hebrew word is used for Joseph when Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him, ‘he left his garment in her hand and fled (wayanos) and went outside’ (Genesis 39:12). When God sees an individual going against his nature to sin, that is a human created miracle and a miracle is then released in his/her life from heaven.  Joseph received the miracle of becoming exalted above Potiphar, his master through the miracle of Pharaoh’s dream and its interpretation.

        Our role for a miracle to happen in our lives – Challenges in our life provide us an opportunity to rise higher and a step above our nature to accomplish a spiritual deed that is beyond this world. The higher we move beyond and over our natural state to consciously bring God into our lives, for we overcome our weaknesses in His grace, and it sets the limits to which God will deal with us in an open and miraculous way. Invariably, in answer to a request, when we pray, the caller immediately after saying ‘Amen’ wants us to remember this in our future prayers also. Our faith is not up to that level to overcome the doubts and rarely is an answer received. When we perform our own miracle in faith in our relationship with God, He in turn performs miracles for us.

         The Hebrew word for a miracle is ‘nes’ and the word for a challenge is ‘nisayon’ and in both the root word is the same with the same concept. A miracle, therefore, is about facing a challenge squarely and going against our nature and doing what is right and acceptable to God. The message from the Lord of lords to all churches ends with an exhortation ‘He who overcomes’ and then there is a reward. The final one is unimaginable, for the Lord has promised to such a one ‘to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne’ (Revelation 3:21). Talmud, the book of Jewish ceremonial law and Mishna classify the strong as ‘One who overcomes his desires’, for all our needs are met by the LORD God. Against the natural instinct to look horizontally, towards our friends and relatives for help, the psalmist first identifies the source of his help, the LORD who made heaven and earth, and then looks towards that (Psalm 121:1-8). Having declared in faith all the blessings that are coming to him from the LORD, he declares the final blessing, ‘The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore’. The miracle of shifting our focus towards heaven releases the miracle from heaven into our lives.

           How do we retain our focus on the LORD – All those who believe and receive Lord Jesus as their Savior get a special blessing of becoming ‘children of God’ (John 1:12). With that an anointing is also given by the Lord, that ‘he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do’ (John 14:12). But despite this anointing most believers are suffering lack with hardly any miracles happening in their lives. The answer was provided by the Lord ‘The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy’ (John 10:10). The thief is the devil and that is known to all but what does he come to steal? During the temptation of Lord Jesus in the wilderness the devil asks the same question to the Lord, ‘If You are the Son of God’ (Matthew 4:3 & 6).  But on both occasions no answer is given by the Lord. In the Garden of Eden a similar question was asked of Eve by the serpent, ‘Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?’ In both cases the purpose of this simple statement is to create doubt about our relationship with the LORD God, a relationship that has tremendous blessings with it.

          Satan coaxed God to doubt the righteousness of Job which he claimed was conditional to receiving blessings from God and once that is withdrawn, Job will ‘surely curse You to Your face’ (Job 1:11 & 2:5). The devil is never interested in my physical, financial or social standing, the only thing he wants to snatch from me is the anointing that comes from the Lord to His children. His attacks on all these worldly things is to distract me from the blessings that God has already given so that I lose what I have and forsake what is to come. The reward offered to the Son of God was dominion over all kingdoms of the earth in return for surrendering His anointing by falling down before Satan and worshipping him (Matthew 4:9). The loss of all that Job had, his sickness, the painful cry of his wife asking him to curse God and die, the questions of his three friends accusing him of hidden sins and a similar questioning by a young man, Elihu did not shake Job, who never sought restoration or healing but only restoration of his relationship with God.

         How does Satan do this? First, creating doubts, Stephen, the first martyr of the Church, told about the loss of faith by the Israelites when Moses was with God on Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments (Acts 7:40-42). In rebellion and disobedience, they asked Aaron to ‘make us gods to go before us’ and ‘God turned and gave them over to worship the host of heaven’ instead of Himself. Two, distorting our words that we speak in careless conversations casting doubts on God and His nature, His love and His name. Such speech, whether God will answer our prayers; or will I ever get well, get a job, get married, find peace or succeed, are all opening doors for the spirits of darkness to act and create hurdles in our lives.

        Three, interfering in our relationship with God, the source of our strength. In heaven three archangels stood in the presence of God, Gabriel, to take His word, like messenger to Daniel, Zacharias, Mary and Joseph and other saints; Michael in charge for prayers and Lucifer for worship. He was equipped with ‘timbrels and pipes’ on the day he was created to be the chief musician to lead in worship (Ezekiel 28:13). Lucifer tried to steal what was only for God, worship, to be like the Most High and was then expelled from Divine presence. He tried to steal the same from the Son of God also in return for kingdoms of this world. He tries to stop us from expressing our joy of worship, our daily communion with God through Bible study, meditation on the Word and prayers creating doubts about the efficacy of the same.

         When we go against our nature to laze around and get up to praise and worship our God early in the morning and give thanks to Him in every circumstance, we open the doors for miracles to start happening in our lives. We were created to be dependent on God and His heavenly kingdom and the devil wants us to look towards the resources of the earth that we can exploit with our own strength and wisdom. Miracles happen with the power of the spiritual realm and not of this world, though we see their visible results with our eyes. However, a day will come before the Day of Judgement when Satan will perform great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men’ (Revelation 13:13). Miracles, therefore, cannot be taken as evidence of the power of God and of a close relationship with the LORD in someone,  for the devil can use his agents to mislead, ‘even the believers’ through signs and wonders. We have to remain focused on Lord Jesus ‘the author and finisher of our faith’ (Hebrews 12:2).

       The very act of our getting up from sleep every morning is in itself a miracle and a blessing from the LORD God. Many miraculous happenings keep occurring in our lives daily and we remain oblivious to that for our Father in heaven keeps His eyes on His children. We read, understand and live in the Word of God and that strengthens us in our faith. For a true disciple, miracle is not necessary, for such a person experiences the love of God every moment. But one whose ‘eyes are blinded by the devil’ no miracles is sufficient to draw him/her towards the loving and living God.

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