“O Lord, I have heard your speech and was afraid; O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years! In the midst of the years make it known; In wrath remember mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2).
Many interesting discussions have taken place around conference, coffee and dinner tables on the subject of “miracles.” I believe miracles are divine acts by which God reveals Himself to people. The classical definition of a miracle assumes that it is contrary to natural law, I feel this is a misnomer for two reasons. One, many of the miracles that occurred in the Bible uses nature rather than bypass it, an excellent example is the wind that parted the Red Sea. Two, there no longer is a concept of “absolute natural laws,” instead, a phenomenon that is not readily explainable may reflect laws that scientists do not yet fully understand. Forthright and honest admissions to the limitations of scientific understanding are becoming common place and not rarities.
In Scripture the element of faith is crucial; a natural approach cannot prove or disprove the presence of the “miracle.” The timing and content of the process can be miraculous, even though the event may seem natural. The significance of the miracle as a revelation is also important. In every case God performed the miracle not merely as a “wonder” to inspire awe but as a “sign” to draw people to Himself. In the Old Testament the two terms “sign” and “wonder,” often appear together. Wonder, usually refers to an act of supernatural power beyond man’s understanding. Whereas, sign, refers to an act that occurs as a token or pledge of God’s presence with His people.
In the New Testament, Jesus and the writers of the Synoptic Gospels use the same words with the same general meaning but, add two new words to the same phenomenon of miracles, “power” and “work.” Power, is the main term used throughout the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It signifies the mighty act itself by which God is revealed unto His people in Jesus Christ. Work, is used to show that in Jesus the work of the Father is revealed and made manifest to humanity.
While the four terms are often synonymous (having the same meaning) they designate four specific aspects of miracles. (1) Signs—point to the theological meaning of miracle as a revelation of God; (2) Power—points to the force behind the act; (3) Work—points to the
person behind it; and (4) Wonder—points to its awesome effect on the observer or witness. To the Hebrews of the Old Testament and Christians of the New Testament, a miracle was nothing more or less than an act of God. The natural order is totally under Jehovah’s control, so a miracle is observable not because of its supernatural nature but because of its character as part of the Divine revelation.
“It is enough now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers”
(I-Kings 19:4). Elijah flees from Jezebel after God displays His power by performing
miracles to the chagrin of the prophets of Baal and in the presence of the Israelites. On the heels of this awesome victory over the 450-prophets of Baal and 400-prophets of the groves, Elijah falls into despair. He fears for his own life in the face of Jezebel’s threat and flees to a lonely mountain for safety—to lick his wounds and mourn his fate.
“How shameful” many would say, that this great prophet would call down fire from heaven one day and flee for his life the next. Elijah is not alone, it is common place today that many believers witness the miracles of life, and yet question the faithfulness of God to protect His own. Yes, how shameful it is that we can overcome our fears of height, public speaking and loneliness yet run for our Christian lives at the hint of protest to our proclamation of the Atonement of Jesus.
“After the fire a still small voice, and it was so, when Elijah heard it.” (I-Kings 19:12-13). We modern-day Christians, as well as, our Hebrew brothers of the past, are professed believers in the power, witnesses to the signs, beholders of the wonders, and beneficiaries of the work all have feet of clay. In spite of our weakness God does not berate us as He did not berate Elijah. Rather, He ministered to him quietly, restoring his spirit and strength. Then God calls Elijah back into His service again. God cares when we are discouraged and hurt and gently calls us to Himself for new strength.
Miracles do not permeate the entire Bible. They tend to be concentrated during the times of Moses, the Prophets, and Jesus. They occur other times as well, but these are the times of their greatest concentration; and Elijah and Elisha represent one of the strongest periods. In our lives today, God seems rather inactive in comparison. Yet that is not because He is unable to act-but rather because He has chosen not to act in the same way. The power is still there, and we can rest in the confidence that He still has all things under control.
After witnessing the miracles; power, signs, wonders and work of God in Jesus Christ and your heart remains troubled, there is one more miracle to be performed. Get in the Spirit and let God minister to you. “O’Lord, how great are Your works! Your thoughts are very deep. A senseless man does not know, nor does a fool understand this” (Psalm 92:5).
Grady Norman Greene, Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Our Christ
- Lord, I Need Your Special Strength – 1 Kings 18:46 (dianneguthmuller.com)
- What About the Nature of the Holy Spirit (verticalviewer.wordpress.com)