Monday, December 8, 2014

Miracle Monday: Week 2

This coming week is going to be particularly busy for me and sitting down to remember and write about the miracles of God seems like something God had planned for me for a long time. 

So maybe this very moment He designed for me is a miracle in itself. Isn’t that a fun thought?

Anyway. Here we go- week 2!

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So Abraham and Sarah had their miracle baby, Isaac. 

Abraham still had this promise, “You will be the father of a great nation. Try to number the stars- this is the number of your descendants!”

And now Abraham was finally beginning to see the promises of the Lord playing out in his life. And he was thankful, worshipful, praising God for his son.

Then one day Abraham received a message from the Lord. Keep in mind that the last time Abraham spoke to the Lord he received the news he was going to be a father after thinking he would never have children with his lawful wife. He was probably expecting something grand. 

But this is not at all what he was expecting. God came to Him and said, “Abraham.”

He called his servant by name.

“Here I am.”

“Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love…and offer him as a burnt offering.”

I can only imagine what was running through Abraham’s mind.

But God- he is my son, my only son…the one You promised me! You said through HIM you would make a great nation. You can’t do that if he’s dead. 

But his outward response was this, “But God has done so much for me already, I must trust Him with this, too.”

We don’t know how long it was before Abraham, his son Isaac and his servants left to go the place where God called him to make the sacrifice. Nevertheless, the left. They carried the wood and the knife. 

At the foot of the mountain Abraham turned to his servants, “My son Isaac and I are going up to make the sacrifice…”

Yes, Lord, we will go. But please, somehow, bring him back. 

“And we will return to you.”

Abraham did not say I will return to you. No, he said WE. As in, me and my son will return to you.

That’s faith big enough to believe in a miracle. 

They got to the top of the mountain (it’s name was Mount Moriah, just incase you were wondering) and Isaac finally asked the question burning on the tip of our tongues, “Father, we have the sticks and the knife but where is the ram for the sacrifice?”

“God will provide,” Abraham said. I picture him looking up at the sky thinking, God please provide.

Abraham painstakingly laid the sticks for the fire, piling them on top of each other. Isaac probably helped his father.

God, don’t let these be the last moments with my son. He can’t die after building the very alter to be sacrificed on. 

I can’t even write this calmly. It makes me nauseous to even think about being in this situation. 

Then as Abraham raised the knife to sacrifice his son, the angel of the Lord called out to him again.
“Abraham! Abraham!” 

“Here I am.” Same response. Lord let it be different, better news. Save my son. 

“Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”

And there it was in the bushes. A ram. The sacrifice that would take Isaac’s place. 

I wonder if Abraham cried as he lifted his son from the alter, if he cried tears of joy over his son’s life. 

And they sacrificed the ram. Abraham called the place “the Lord will provide.” Together they went back down the mountain. Together they returned to his servants. 

Later down the line Isaac married a lady named Rebecca and together they had twin boys names Jacob and Esau. The story of Jacob and Esau is quite lengthy but we’ll sum it up like this: they didn’t get along. Worst sibling rivalry E.V.E.R. Almost as bad as Cain and Abel- but before Esau could kill Jacob (or vise versa) Jacob ran off and fell in love with Rachel.

But Jacob had nothing. He had run away from home and had no money, no prospects, nothing to his name but his inheritance which wouldn’t do him any good since his father was still alive. 

Jacob made a deal with Rachel’s father. He would work for him for seven years. At the end of those seven years Jacob would get to marry Rachel. 

You think that is a picture of love? Wait, it gets better.

On their wedding night, Jacob found not Rachel but her OLDER SISTER, Leah to be beside him.

I can only imagine the scene. It’s not pretty.

In their weddings, the bride would wear all kinds of coverings over her face and you couldn’t tell who was who. That’s how Jacob was tricked into marrying Leah. 

But, he decided not to divorce her. He decided to work another seven years to marry the woman he truly loved.

Now that’s a beautiful picture of devoted love! 

So, now Jacob had two wives (which was common then), and Leah began to bear children. 

Actually, Leah had quite a few children. Leah, the one Jacob didn’t really love. Scripture tells us that “when the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren.”

Woah. Again. This sounds like a rivalry between wives. 

BUT. Something miraculous happened the fourth time she had a son. We don’t know if it was her fourth child (girls aren’t typically recorded except in really awesome stories like Esther, Ruth and Mary), but it was her fourth son. 

“And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, ‘This time I will praise the Lord.’ Therefore she called his name Judah.”

Guess who was one of Judah’s great-great-great-great-great-grandsons? King David.

Do you know who was one of King David’s great-great-great-great-great-grandsons by his mother AND his father’s lineage? Jesus Christ of Nazareth. 

You heard me right. 

Jacob was deceived into marrying Leah so that WAY WAY WAY down the line…Jesus would be born of the line of Judah.
Sometimes God gives us miracles in a ram hidden in the bushes, in a treasure that his hidden that God gives to us.

Sometimes God gives us miracles in loving someone we didn’t originally want to love, in a way that seemed absolutely crazy. 

But no matter what, He’s a God of miracles. He’s a God who provides miracles in the ways we would never expect and never dream. 

Like this moment right now…when I’m asking for a miracle in my own life…but taking a moment to remember the amazing things He has done all through scripture to show me that He is more than possible to do what I’m asking. To remember that He is a God who gives miracles big and small each and every day…

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"Jesus doesn't wait for you to be good; He comes to be with us who are having very awful, miserable, no-good days right now. Jesus comes to cary us who are feeling mad and  bad and sad and anything but glad, and He left heaven to be with us who feel left out. Jesus comes to us who seem to get every step wrong- he becomes the step just to get to us. Jesus came from heaven to be with you in your hurt." -Ann Voskamp's Unwrapping the Greatest Gift

Genesis 28:12-16, "And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, 'I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.' Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, 'Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.'"

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Let’s look for the ram in the bushes. Let’s find the miracles this Christmas season. 


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