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WHAT PRECEDED THE MIRACLES OF GOD?
BY IRMA F. MATRAI
Who wouldn't like to receive one miracle after the other from God? Can we expect that?
Is it enough to just hope to receive them and/or pray for them? Or do we have to do
something to receive them? The Condensed Cyclopedia Of Topics And Texts section of
my THOMPSON CHAIN REFERENCE BIBLE points out several things that preceded
some of God's miracles in the Bible.
For example according to 2 Kings 3:9-20, the king of Israel was ready to fight with two
of his partners against Moab. But soon the army and their animals ran out of water. Then
the three kings went to the prophet Elisha for advice. He told them:
Thus saith the Lord, make this valley full of ditches. For ... ye shall
not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with
water, that ye may drink, both ye and your cattle and your beasts..."
And it came to pass in the morning... that... there came water by the way of
Edom, and the country was filled with water.
In this case, God expected his people to prove their faith in his promise, by first,
digging ditches. It's not that he was unable to give them water any other way. He just
wanted to see how much they trust him and obey him. Only afterwards did the miracle
Moreover, according to 2 Kings 4:3-7 a widow went to the same prophet lamenting that
her creditor threatened to take away her two sons and make them his slaves; if she doesn’t
pay her debts.
And Elisha said unto her... what hast thou in the house? And she said...
not anything... except a pot of oil. Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels
from all they neighbors... not a few. And... pour... into all those vessels,
and thou shalt set aside that which is full.
So she went ... and she poured... And... when the vessels were full... she
said unto her son, Bring me yet a vessel. And he said... There is not a
vessel more. And the oil stopped flowing."
Then, she... told the man of God. And he said, Go sell the oil, and pay
they debt, and live thou and thy children on the rest.
In her case God expected the widow to first prove her faith by borrowing some vessels
from her neighbors, and pouring her little oil into them as long as it lasted. Then,
when she followed instructions, she received her miracle. But would you or I have
obeyed the prophet’s instructions by faith too?
Next, in 2 Kings 5, we see a leprous Syrian captain, by the name of Naaman, going to the
king of Israel. In his possession was a letter from his own king, asking the King of Israel
to heal Naaman. The king of Israel was devastated. However, when the prophet Elisha
found out about this, he said: "Let him come to me, and he shall know that there is a
prophet in Israel." Thus, Naaman was sent to Elisha. Yet, he only got to the door when
the prophet sent a messenger to him saying:
Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again
to thee, and thou shalt be clean. But Naaman was angry and went away, and said, Behold, I thought,
he will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the
Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and cure the leprosy.
Are not Abana and Pharpaar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the
waters of Israel?... So he turned and went away in a rage.
And his servants... said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some
great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? How much rather then,
when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?
Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan...
and he was clean.
Evidently, Naaman was expected to demonstrate humility, obedience, and faith; before
he would receive his miracle. He had to dip himself seven times, into the despised
Jordan river, whether that sounded logical to him, or not.
Then, in the New Testament we find that the miralce of forgiveness of our sins can only
be attained if it is preceded by repentance expressed by honest confession. For in 1
John 1:9 we read: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us, and to cleanse us from all
unrighteousness." No other way! While eternal life, or a place in Heaven can only be obtained if it is
preceded by the belief in Jesus’ deity. For, John 3:36 tells us:
"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life;
and he that believeth not the Son
shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him."
There are many more examples in the Bible about the different things that preceded
God's miracles. But the few we metnioned above are enough to show us that God's
miracles were often preceded by some kind of action or preparation on the part of his
people. And that is the same today! This doesn't mean that we have to "earn" them. For, that
is impossible! We can never be good enough or do enough to deserve them. We can
only show our loving Heavenly Father that we believe in him and in his promises strong
enough to do anything, he says; whether it makes sense to us or not. Knowing that
according to Hebrews 11:6 and James 2:20
"Without faith it is impossible to please
God..." and "....faith without works is dead..."
Personally, I remember God's miracles sometimes pouring out upon me only after he
tested me through some hard trials. In those cases he most likely wanted to see
whether I was willing to stay close to him, trust him, and obey him during the hard
days; or not. And I'm sure you could name a few events also, when in one way or
another you too had to trust and obey; before you received your miracle. Therefore
let us continue to trust and obey God even if we have to do some strange tasks, or
endure some very hard trials. For afterwards, God may bless us with one of his greatest
miracles! And in any case, he will bless us through it all.