I continue to be reminded that God leaves no doubt. He left no doubt in His dealings with mankind in the past and He continues to leave no doubt today. Two such instances I recently recounted in past posts, “while the world watched” (about the boys’ soccer team rescue from the cave) and “full circle-a glimpse beyond the glass” (which tells the story of a jacket’s travels orchestrated by God).
The common denominator in all the stories is God. God eliminates all other possible explanations, leaving no doubt that it is His will prevailing and His power bringing the events to pass necessary to the accomplishing of His perfect will. “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” (Proverbs 19:21)
God left no doubt that it was He who gave Abraham and Sarah their son, Isaac. What was remarkable about Isaac’s birth? Pretty much everything! Abraham and his wife, Sarah, though married for years, had no children. Very unusual for that time and in that culture. But Sarah was barren, unable to conceive and bear a child, a cause for shame and sorrow that she had lived with all her married years. But now God was telling Abraham that he would be the father of a great nation, with descendants too numerous to count? This couldn’t have made any sense to the childless Abraham.
But — “Abram (name hadn’t been changed yet) believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6) Abraham believed God when God said to him, ” . . . a son coming from your own body will be your heir. . . . Look up at the heavens and count the stars — if indeed you can count them. . . . So shall your offspring be.” (Genesis 15:4-5) Now Genesis 18:11 tells us, “Abraham and Sarah were already old and well advanced in years, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing.”
In order for this promise to come true, Sarah, both barren and beyond her childbearing years, would have to conceive and bear a son. It would require a miracle of God. There was no other possible way this could happen. Sure enough, Genesis 21:1-2 tells us, ” . . . and the Lord did for Sarah what He had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him.” Abraham was one hundred years old when Isaac was born and Sarah was ninety. God left no doubt that Isaac, was the child of His promise to Abraham, the fulfillment of His covenant.
No less miraculous is the story of what happened to Daniel’s three friends when they were tried for treason by the king of Babylon and found guilty. Their act of treason was refusing to bow down to and to worship an image of gold that the king had made. Their punishment? “But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?” (Daniel 3:15) Well, the king was about to find out.
“He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual . . . The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.” (Daniel 3:19-23) But when the king saw the three of them walking around in the fire unbound and unharmed, and a fourth figure like a son of the gods walking with them, he ordered them to come out.
“So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, and . . . They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.” (Daniel 3:26-27) I smell like wood smoke if I just roast marshmallows around a campfire and my clothes smell like smoke as well. And I am just near the fire, not in it! But these three men didn’t just barely escape with their lives — no they emerged from the furnace better off than they were when they entered into it. They entered in firmly bound and they emerged fully free. God does, “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us,” (Ephesians 3:20)
Yes, God left no doubt who delivered these three faithful men. (a furnace seven times hotter than normal and the king’s own soldiers killed by its’ flames) And the king got the message. “Then Nebuchadnezzar said, ‘Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent His angel and rescued His servants! . . . for no other god can save in this way.’ ” (Daniel 3:28-29)
David killing Goliath did not seem likely to happen given the circumstances; and yet it did happen. Goliath was a Philistine champion over nine feet tall. “He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels, (about 125 pounds) on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back.” (1 Samuel 17:5-6) There’s more, but you get the idea — this guy was one invincible, bad dude.
David on the other hand, was a young shepherd boy. He was the youngest of Jesse’s eight sons, not old enough to join his brothers in Israel’s army and fight against the Philistines. One day he was delivering grain, bread and cheese to his brothers at the battle front. He heard how Goliath defied the armies of the living God and how they all were afraid to fight him. So David determined to fight him. David declined to wear King Saul’s armor but “he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.” (1 Samuel 17:40)
A small, unarmed shepherd boy against a large, fully outfitted for battle, trained fighting man? We know what outcome we should reasonably expect. BUT GOD . . . had other plans. “David said to the Philistine, ‘You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. . . . So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.” (1 Samuel 17:45,50) God left no doubt.
God left no doubt that the battle was His and it was His purpose that prevailed. God was at work in the world then just as He is at work in the world today. But, ” ‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord.” (Isaiah 55:8) God does things in His own way and in His perfect timing. As we have seen from these stories, God often uses the unlikely, the least likely, the unliked or the overlooked to accomplish His purposes. And His purposes are always good.
When we face overwhelming situations and circumstances, dear readers, we need not lose heart. “Jesus replied, ‘What is impossible with men is possible with God.’ ” (Luke 18:27) We need to remember that. With God, babies get born to barren women, battles are won against impossible odds, walls tumble down, waters part, hungry people get fed, fire doesn’t burn (the bush or the people), sick people get well, the lame walk, the blind see, the prisoners are set free, sins are forgiven, the temple curtain is torn in two and the dead are brought back to life! Our God is the God of the impossible and He leaves no doubt!
“Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: ‘I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for Me?’ ” (Jeremiah 32:26-27)
“Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men.” (Psalm 107:21)
sincerely, Grace Day