March 29, Friday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Do You Believe in Miracles?”

Exodus 16:1-5, 11-16 (ESV)

They set out from Elim, and all the congregation of the people of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt. 2 And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, 3 and the people of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” 4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not. 5 On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily . . .”

11 And the Lord said to Moses, 12 “I have heard the grumbling of the people of Israel. Say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’” 13 In the evening quail came up and covered the camp, and in the morning dew lay around the camp. 14 And when the dew had gone up, there was on the face of the wilderness a fine, flake-like thing, fine as frost on the ground. 15 When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat. 16 This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Gather of it, each one of you, as much as he can eat. You shall each take an omer, according to the number of the persons that each of you has in his tent.’”

The Soviet Union entered the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York as the heavy favorite to win the gold medal in men’s ice hockey.  As previous winners of four consecutive gold medals and filled with a legendary, star-studded group of professional players, the Soviet Union team was considered a virtual lock for another Olympic championship.  

Contrastingly, the US team was made up of amateur players with an average age of 21 years old, making it the youngest team in US history to play in the Olympics.  It was a bunch of no name college players going against the world’s finest hockey machine. Imagine the US Olympic basketball Dream Team of 1992 (consisting of Jordan, Magic and Bird to name a few) losing to Angola?  Not going to happen. But, the “Miracle on Ice” indeed happened when the US beat the Soviet Union 4-3. Every American on the planet probably tuned into the last minutes of the game, and to this day, this match is widely held as the best international hockey story ever.  

Well, what about you?  Do you believe in miracles?  Verse one states that it had been exactly one month since the Israelites had come out of Egypt.  The time reference is not accidental: Only a month before they had been miraculously delivered, but now they forgot all about it. Although they had been given a stunning victory over the mighty Egyptians, merely a month later they were complaining because there were hungry. So God promises them manna, which literally means “what is it?”  And He would provide manna for the next 40 years. Manna was not a product of some biological organism. It was not man-made; it was certainly not something that the Israelites brought with them out of Egypt. Instead, God provided the manna straight from heaven—a great miracle indeed.

Ancient Israel had no word for “miracle” or “nature.”  They expected natural phenomena to tell them something about God.  The Hebrew words in the OT, which are sometimes translated to mean miracle, literally mean “sign”—an event that points to some future meaning, or an event that draws attention to something else, usually God.  Thus, in NT times, people expected that God would authenticate any disclosure of His intention with miracles. The Kingdom of God is now here (Lk. 17:21) and miracles are indeed signs pointing to this kingdom.  Consider the inauguration of Jesus’ ministry at the Wedding at Cana in John 2 that was signified by his first miracle of turning water into wine, or Jesus’ declaration, “But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Matt. 12:28).

I believe that signs still exist today to remind us of God’s Kingdom.  Miracles are still as much today a “sign” to announce the kingdom message as it was then.  Considering that, are there areas in your life that seem hopeless and against all odds? Don’t give up!  Ask the Lord for a miracle. Whether it be a miracle of physical healing or restoring a hopelessly broken relationship, let us wait in eager anticipation, in faith and earnest prayer.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, I come to You today with faith so small I cannot see a way out.  I want to believe You are able to do more than I can ever imagine (Eph. 3:20).  I want to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). God, please bring a miracle into my life.  I know that You can do the impossible in my life and I am trusting in Your promises. Thank You for being a God who sees and hears my every need. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

Bible Reading for Today:  Acts 22


Lunch Break Study

Read Mark 9:21-24 (ESV):  And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”  23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.”24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”

Questions to Consider

  1. What lesson is Jesus teaching the man in v.23, and how does the man receive and respond to the lesson in v. 24?
  2. Why was the father so desperate in his response in v. 24?
  3. In what area of your life do you need God’s miracle?  Ask for a miracle.

Notes

  1. Here, Jesus’ power is not the issue, but faith in him is.  All things are not possible to be done by the believer himself, but all things are possible to be done for him, by Jesus.  That work is done by faith which is a gift itself.
  2. He recognized his limitations in view of the severity of the situation.  Ultimately, he put his faith and hope in Jesus.
  3. Personal response.

Evening Reflection

The fundamental question you and I need to be more conscious of today is, “Am I living my life in the deep faith of being united to God’s presence or am I living my life as though I am in control of everything that goes on in my life?”  If we live our daily lives in the deep and personal union with God’s presence, our deep faith can give us a peace where we strongly believe that our lives are in the hands of God who cares for us. 

So, let us live in the greater consciousness and gratitude to God for His caring and compassionate love, where He never fails to work “miracles” for us daily.  The greater our consciousness and the deeper our gratitude to God, the more discerning we become in our relationship with Jesus.

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