If you’re a citizen of this world, you must have heard this phrase, “If God did it then, why doesn’t he do it now?” “why has God forgotten me?” Why doesn’t he love me the way he loved the Bible characters that they tell us about in church?” Etcetera. You may also wonder, if God is the same now as He was then, why don’t I see Him doing miracles the way He did in the Old Testament? If you look around and don’t see rivers turned to blood or lepers healed instantly, you may conclude that the Old Testament stories are just inspiring legends.
The first thing I need you to remember is that in the Bible, the special effects were not the main show. God performed them to serve the plot (His plan) And the characters (Himself and His people). He used the “flashy stuffs” as most of us fondly calls it when we lose faith, at key moments, to move events or to make a point about Himself or His kingdom.
Throughout most of history and prehistory, God has preferred to let the laws of physics, chemistry, and biology -which He invented – play out naturally. It’s easy to lose sight of this fact when we read the Bible because the biblical writers skipped over those vast stretches of time and focused on strategic moments when God entered history.
For example, God allowed generations of humans in the Middle East to figure out how to plant crops and herd goats, invent writing, fight wars, kidnap women and kill babies, die of diseases or live to see their grandchildren. Then out of the blue, God spoke to a particular Iraqi herdsman named Abram and began to direct this man’s life (Genesis 12). Meanwhile, thousands of people in Africa went to hunt game in the jungle and across the plains without any idea that the Creator of the universe was up to something in the Middle East.
God sent Moses and a series of dramatic plagued to Egypt for a strategic reason: to liberate the descendants of Abraham from slavery so they could play a key role in His plan for the world. When you read the story of the Exodus and wonder about the miracles, remember:
. The God of the Exodus is the God of today. He still opposes the oppressor and cares for the oppressed. He wants you and me to share those values.
. In nations today where people are being oppressed, God can intervene just dramatically. He can send prophets or plagued. There is nothing inherently different about now that prevents this.
. It is entirely appropriate for oppressed people to cry out to God just as the Israelites did in Egypt. It’s appropriate for all of God’s people to ask him to intervene.
. God can use exactly the same methods for accomplishing His ends, but He doesn’t have to. He can do things whatsoever way that pleased him, covertly through people, or events that appear ordinary.
. God can call anybody to lead the effort. Just as He called Moses and gave him the assignment, He can also call you.
. While liberating oppressed people is an important value to God, the Exodus was a unique event. God intervened dramatically for this particular oppressed people because He had a long-range plan for global liberation.
His ultimate goal is not to have to send in the Marines for every suffering group in every country in every generation. As long as sin persists, powerful people are going to exploit weaker people. God’s long-range plan is to wipe out sin. Maybe liberation of an oppressed person is not at the front of your mind. Maybe you’re most interested in the personal miracles, such as the healings performed by Elijah in 1 and 2 Kings.
Understand that desiring God’s healing is appropriate, but it shouldn’t be a benchmark to having a healthy relationship with God. Miracles were not the focus of those old prophets ministries; sharing God’s word was. Miracles were lessons, illustrations, not ends in themselves. To seek the miracle rather than God Himself is to miss the point tragically.
The people of Nazareth lost the chance to experience God in the flesh because they were so intent upon relief for their physical aches. Let’s not make the mistakes they did.
When next you read about miraculous healings in the Bible, please remember the points I highlighted previously and know that the God who did all that is still the same today and he would do much more, only if you let him.
Love you guys.
Photo by: Abigail Keenan, Christian Fregnan
Peace and Blessings ???