The Shepherd of Hope blog is here to serve you, to help you know Jesus better and to find hope in Him. This blog relies on the Spirit of God using the word of God to build people of God. All material has been prayerfully submitted for your encouragement and spiritual edification. Your questions and comments are welcome.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Where Are All the Miracles? – Part 3

Gideon has asked God “where are all His miracles”? And we have seen a number of reasons why there were no miracles. In part 3 of this study we will now see further causes for a lack of miracles and what our proper attitude to the miraculous should be.

What was the answer, the solution to Gideon’s question? “And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried out to the LORD because of the Midianites” (6:7). The people called out to God. Finally they had enough. Finally they came to the end of themselves. Finally they realized they had sinned and grieved the Lord. Finally they recognized His absence among them and for them. Finally they realized they could only turn to God. Finally they realized that their only hope was God. Today we need to come to that point. We need to come to realize our only hope is God. We need a heaven sent revival. When we get to that point, when we fall on our knees and pray for God’s help, He will answer. He will send a revival. Historically revivals include miracles.

It states when the people cried out to God, “the LORD sent a prophet to the children of Israel, who said to them, “Thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘I brought you up from Egypt and brought you out of the house of bondage; 9 and I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians and out of the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out before you and gave you their land. 10 Also I said to you, “I am the LORD your God; do not fear the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell.” But you have not obeyed My voice.’ ” (Judges 6:8-10). God points His people to the Exodus, a time of incredible miraculous manifestations. He also recalls how God had cleared out the Promised Land for them. But then He adds, “But you have not obeyed My voice.”

Miracles, even the Exodus and conquest of the Promised Land, didn’t lead God’s people to obey God. Jesus recounted the story of a rich man in hell who upon seeing the consequence of his life of luxury begs Abraham to get word to his five brothers so they won’t follow his eternal hellish destiny. Abraham’s response was, “if they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead” (Luke 16:31). Miracles are not primarily what we need. Miracles are only a byproduct showing what we need. We need God and when He comes He often shows His presence by miracles. We need to seek God in Christ by the Holy Spirit and trust Him with our every circumstance.

The reason we don’t see miracles today is because our motive for wanting them is wrong. We think if God would just perform a miracle it would so impress people that they would fall on their knees and repent. But scriptural history tells us different. God’s own people saw Egypt, the mightiest empire of their time defeated by the miracles of God. They saw the Red Sea parted for their passage and then closed to engulf the Egyptian army. They saw water from the rock. They ate manna from heaven and quail dinners provided by God. God parted the Jordan River. He brought the walls of Jericho down. He made the sun stop in the sky. He defeated enemy after enemy for His people. He did countless other miracles. And still they disobeyed Him! Still they drifted from Him and forgot Him.

In the Gospels we see Jesus turn water to wine, the blind made to see, the lame to walk, lepers healed and our Savior rise from the grave. We see the disciples follow in the steps of their Master healing and delivering people from demons. We see numerous miracles and still so many stray.

Why no miracles? There are no miracles because, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:3). The hypocritical Pharisees sought a sign from Jesus, Jesus didn’t grant their request. In fact Jesus said it was an evil and adulterous generation that seeks a sign (Matthew 12:38-39). Herod was eager to see Jesus so that he might see Him do a miracle (Luke 23:8). Simon the sorcerer was rebuked by Peter for wanting to purchase the ability to perform miracles for his own purposes (Acts 8:14-25). Miracles sought with wrong motives are not granted.

But not everyone asks amiss. Who is to say our motives aren’t pure when we see a suffering child or adult and ask God for a miraculous intervention? It’s not wrong to ask our Lord to mercifully intervene to heal. But go deeper still. What is so bad about going to be with the Lord? To live is Christ, to die is gain (Philippians 1:21). When our loved ones are hurting and we are begging the Lord for help, our emotions are so upset it’s hard to wade through and know our motives. This is a complex issue. If a miracle is to occur it must be according to God’s will and for His glory. That is the criteria. We must entrust God with every circumstance and bow to His sovereign decision. God knows what is best. His grace is always sufficient (2 Cor. 12:8-10).

Let’s look at the pattern of Gideon. He asked for a confirming sign to authenticate it was indeed the Angel of the LORD he was talking to (6:17). The first thing we need to do is confirm that it is God who is talking to us. We can do this by going to God’s word (Psalm 119:105). He prayed for the Angel of the LORD to wait for him to bring an offering to him (6:18). It was through the sacrificial offering that the Angel of the LORD confirmed who He was. The Angel ignited the sacrifice (6:19-21). Through prayer and worship we confirm God’s will. Then Gideon encountered peace in the presence of the Lord (6:22-24). God reveals His will in times of worship (e.g. Acts 13:2). Gideon then experienced peace from the Lord. He named the place YHWH Shalom, or The-LORD-Is-Peace. We should let the peace of God guide us (e.g. Col. 3:15). The mindset and heart condition for miracles are birthed in prayer and worship.

Gideon was then sent on a mission to overturn and destroy a pagan altar of Baal (6:25-35). This was to build Gideon’s trust in God. God mercifully further confirmed to Gideon that He would deliver Israel through him (6:36-40). And then God miraculously delivered His people from the Midianites with only three hundred men (Judges 7). God begins working His miracles by strengthening the faith of the human instrument He plans to use. He will direct you in a way that requires you trust in Him. This builds faith.

Authentication, supplication, and worship that lead to the peace of God; this is the way to revival and its accompanying miracles. The greatest miracle is God Himself. He is Holy. There is none like Him. He defies the ordinary and is normally extraordinary. God by nature is miraculous. He is who we need.

Where are the miracles? They are enveloped in God Himself. When God makes His presence known, miracles happen. We need the LORD! He is our only hope! We need a move of the Spirit, a revival. I invite you to pray this prayer with me: “LORD we need You! We need to be revived by You. Forgive us our sin. Forgive our disobedience. Forgive us for seeking miracles for the wrong reasons. Forgive us for not seeking You alone. We repent. We surrender our circumstances and needs to You. If it is Your will to intervene in a miraculous extraordinary way, so be it. If not, so be it. But make Yourself known in this world. Be glorified! Show Your extraordinariness. ‘Oh, that You would rend the heavens! That You would come down! That the mountains might shake at Your presence’” (Isaiah 64:1). In Jesus’ name, amen!

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