Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The World Responds to Us: Biblical Examples

The world was created to respond to us. When Adam fell, the world fell into chaos. When we walk in obedience to God and His Word, the world also begins to respond in obedience. We see this illustrated many times in Scripture:
  • When Moses parted the Red Sea. God said, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. But life up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea” (Exodus 14:15-16).
  • When Moses brought forth water from the rock. The Lord said, “Go on before the people, and take with you some of the elders of Israel. Also take in your hand your rod with which you struck the river, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink” (Exodus 17:5-6).
  • When God told Moses how to bring forth water again: “Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water” (Numbers 20:8). Unfortunately, in anger against the people, Moses struck the rock again instead of speaking to it as he had been instructed. Nevertheless, the rock yielded water, though Moses lost the blessing because of his disobedience.
  • When Joshua commanded the sun. “Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight o f Israel: 'Sun, stand still over Gibeon; and Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.' So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the people had revenge upon their enemies” (Joshua 10:12-13).
  • When Elijah commanded the rain. He said to Ahab, “As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word” (1 Kings 17:1)
There are also many other cases in the Old Testament where men performed miracles and healings — even raising the dead! The natural world responded to them because they believed and obeyed God.

Now, some people might say that those were special men of God, and has nothing to do with us today. But James, the brother of the Lord Jesus, would beg to differ, as he encourages people to get serious about the life-changing, world-changing benefits of prayer:
The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayer again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. (James 5:16-18)
The kind of things God did through Elijah in Old Testament times, He is willing to do through all His people today. Consider what Jesus said to His disciples and how it blows the parameters wide open for us today:
For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he. (Luke 7:28)
Follow the equation: John the Baptist was greater than all the prophets and mighty men of God in the Old Testament. But even the least one in the kingdom of God is greater than John the Baptist. Therefore, even the least one in the kingdom of God is greater than all the prophets and mighty men of God in the Old Testament.

If the natural realm responded to mighty men of old as they believed and obeyed God, how much more will it be responsive to us when we believe and obey God.