Surprised by God

Isaiah 33:22  ‘For the Lord is our judge, the Lord our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us’

Isaiah 9:6  ‘…and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful. Counselor, The Mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

It is easy to imagine God as this breath of air that provides everything we love in the way we love it. It is easy to forget that God is a King administering a universe according to law, justice and order created by His own word. It is easy to forget that His being king, lawgiver and judge compels Him to implement decisions in accordance with principles and the truth of facts that we would like to distort, and the implementation of these decisions might contradict our concept of a ‘loving doting father’. 

Why did God close the wombs of women like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Hannah and Elizabeth when their children carried such glorious destinies? Why did they need to pray so hard before they could have children? Perhaps the answer lies in the very fact that they had to pray before such outstanding lives could be birthed on earth. This is the truth that might surprise you behind the demand for man to pray. Psalm 115:16 says ‘the heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s; but the earth hath he given to the children of men’

As operators of the earth, we determine how God’s will is implemented on earth. We are partners with God. His law has just arranged that it is done that way. And since He is the lawgiver as well as the king who will give us our petitions, harmony between His heart and words and our heart and words, is created when we pray according to His will. As we pray, God works in us both to will and to do for His good purpose. Philipians 2:13. He needs our prayer to bring His will to pass. And when we pray and hold out the authority of His word, we find ourselves surprised by parting seas, water pouring rocks, and manna from heaven. We experience incredible testimonies of tremendous answers – because we prayed. 

Samuel listened to God speak about a strange event. He would wipe out Eli’s family as priests, because Eli’s sons were ‘sons of belial’ and Eli had failed to honor God by protecting the sanctity of God’s house and worship. How could priests be children of the devil? How could that surprising contradiction in terms occur? A reading of the Bible shows that this happens when men love the trappings of God’s grace and care nothing for the God who gives blessing, and are not afraid to show their disdain of God by doing things that destroy humanity. This was the situation of Abigail’s husband Nabal, and he was called a son of belial too. This was the posture of the Pharisees and Jesus did not hesitate to call them sons of the devil. If God’s capacity to punish for this abuse of grace surprises you, then you need to carefully study the books of the Bible. God jealously guards the sacredness of His house and worship. If this requires His wiping out family lines, and moving people into exile where they experience desperate times so they can turn back to Him, so be it.

But perhaps the most surprising turn God took in Samuel’s long experience of God was the choice of a forgotten shepherd boy to take over the throne of Israel. What qualified this boy for so much power? And why could that power not be handed over to him without the long exhausting warfare between the house of Saul and the house of David? The surprising lesson is that salvation may be free, but the power of God is released only to those who are able to wait for His Spirit to lead them. The meekest become the most powerful. The least greedy and most giving receive most from God. The one who will believe God in the face of the direst circumstances and honor His word will bring heaven to earth. The rules of this earth that accommodate destroying and faithless corrupt people do not work with God. His law is higher, and only the lowly of heart that submit to His authority truly know this and experience the glory of His power. Don’t be surprised by this seeming contradiction of lowliness with power. Read His Word. Let the Word you pray become flesh and behold the glory of the Father 

Prayer: Lord, please help us to accept your Word and live under its authority. For it teaches us that when we are weak, then are we strong. When we give, we are made richer. If we know your Word, we will not be surprised by your work and hand. 

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