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God’s People Are Miracles


HighBeamMinistry.com

“Abraham fell facedown. Then he laughed and said to himself, ‘Can a child be born to a hundred-year-old man? Can Sarah, a ninety-year-old woman, give birth?’” (Genesis 17:17)

 

“Therefore, from one man—in fact, from one as good as dead—came offspring as numerous as the stars of the sky and as innumerable as the grains of sand along the seashore.” (Hebrews 11:12)

 

What is a miracle? According to my go-to dictionary, Merriam-Webster.com, the first definition of a miracle is “an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs” (merriam-webster.com). Since God is divine by definition and reality, when He intervenes in human affairs, some of those interventions are spectacular miracles.

 

Take, for example, when the Lord parted the Red Sea to help His people, the Israelites, escape the pursuing Egyptian army (Exodus 14). Not a bad miracle. There’s also the time when the Lord stopped the sun so Joshua could continue whomping on the Amorites as he and the Israelites were conquering Canaan (Joshua 10). That was a cosmic miracle, for sure, although I wonder if the sun stood still or if the earth stopped turning. That’s one for astrophysicists and earth science brainiacs to fight over.

 

Oh, and then there’s the time the divine Jesus intervened to raise to life a rotting, stinking corpse named Lazarus. “‘Remove the stone,’ Jesus said. Martha, the dead man’s sister, told him, ‘Lord, there is already a stench because he has been dead four days’” (John 11:39), or as the King James Version puts it, “he stinketh.” (I always get a chuckle out of that.) Stinkage notwithstanding, the God-Man nevertheless reassured Martha and promptly raised her brother back to life, completely healed of all decay of death and whatever it was that killed Lazarus. No zombie, he, I tell you (John 11:40-44).

 

The Bible is chock-full of divine interventions in human affairs. Sometimes, we don’t see them as miracles, but they are.

 

I was thinking about that some time back as I was doing my “reading through the Bible in a year” schedule (https://www.highbeamministry.com/cruisin-through-the-bible) and reached the story of Abraham and Sarah. The thought that popped into my noggin’ took me by surprise.

 

God created humanity to Edenize the earth. In short, to settle and steward it for Him. I’ve written extensively about this in my blog’s Subdue and Rule Mandate series. But Adam and Eve goofed up. Their epic failure and later help from some wicked amorous angels caused global corruption. So, God had to clean the board and start over with Noah. Maybe this time, humanity would get things right. After all, God had promised to send someone who would restore the world and the human condition back to creation’s default setting (Genesis 3:15).

 

So, Noah goes through the whole Flood thing with His family (yes, a miracle global laundry service). After the dryer cycle, Noah and the clan emerge to start humanity’s Edenization assignment afresh. Strike one. Sadly, that fails when humanity decides not to spread out but settle as one people in “a valley in the land of Shinar” (Genesis 11:2). Not only that, a united humanity tries to build a tower (an artificial mountain) to get close to God, and hopefully reconnect with Him. Silly people, disobeying God like that. God scrambled their language into many languages, forcing people to gather into language groups (another miracle of divine intervention) and spread over the earth. Strike two.

 

Here’s where it gets fascinating. God decided to do something extraordinary. Whereas natural-born humanity has fallen short, the Lord chose to create a whole new human family lineage. First, God finds a man who will do what He has always wanted His beloved children to do – to trust and obey (for there’s no other way! C’mon, sing with me. Oh, never mind.) This one person who trusts God is Abraham (Genesis 12:1-4; 15:6). Ol’ Abe will be the seed for the birth of a whole new people group. There are only two problems, though. 1) At 99, Abraham is as good as dead (Hebrews 11:12), although certain essential body functions are still working (see Hagar, Genesis 16:4). 2) But Sarah is waaaaaaay past her childbearing years. At 90, she can’t even see menopause in the rearview mirror.

 

Say, what the two lovebirds need is an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs. Yup, a miracle.

 

God promised, and He delivered (Genesis 21:1-7). The Lord miraculously produced a baby, Isaac, for Abraham and Sarah, whose offspring will eventually number in the millions by the time of the Exodus (c. 1440 B.C.) and multi-millions throughout history up to our day. However, many readers blow past the mind-blowing, amazing, and stunning conclusion revealed through Isaac’s birth.

 

The Jewish people are the only family of human beings birthed by a miracle. Wild, right?

 

And now I hear the scripture scoffers shoot back, “What about Adam and Eve, huh? What about them, Mr. Smarty-Pants?”

 

“They were created, not born. Now go back and read your Bible a little more slowly,” Mr. Smarty-Pants replied with a wink.

 

This family line of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel kept having miraculous births. I’m not talking about your run-of-the-mill God-prophesied babies like Samson (Judges 13:3,24), Samuel (1 Samuel 1:2,6,17,20), or even the Immanuel of Isaiah’s day (Isaiah 7:10-14. In context, this was Isaiah’s child, although it later applies to Jesus. We’ll get to that in a bit.).

 

The miraculous birth I refer to is John the Baptist, born from the elderly couple, Zechariah and Elizabeth, descendants within Abraham’s miracle family who were also unable to bear children due to their advanced age. What’s age to an age-less God? The Lord miraculously intervened in their affairs and helped the couple conceive (Luke 1:7). A miracle of miracles.

 

But the really big miracle of all miracle births was Jesus.

 

One day, Mary looked up and saw God’s messenger, Gabriel. “Then the angel told her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Now listen: You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.’…Mary asked the angel, ‘How can this be, since I have not had sexual relations with a man?’ The angel replied to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. And consider your relative Elizabeth—even she has conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called childless. For nothing will be impossible with God’” (Luke 1:30-31, 34-37).

 

Did you catch that? Miracles are no problem for God. “Impossible,” you say? Pish-posh. We’re talking about God here.

 

And it happened just like the Lord declared through Gabriel. “Then she gave birth to her firstborn son, and she wrapped him tightly in cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them” (Luke 2:7). So, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

 

Jesus, the Miracle Son from the Miracle People.

 

Let this sink in. Abraham’s physical descendants, the Jewish people of today, are the only people on earth who were created by a miracle birth. Again, don’t get upset and claim that the entire human family falls under merriam-webster.com’s “extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs” regarding Adam and Eve. They weren’t conceived. They were created. Yeah, I’m going to be a stickler about that.

 

The fact of their miraculous origin implies that the Jewish people were created for an exceptional reason. The God of Israel had miraculously birthed them so they could miraculously birth the Messiah, who would make salvation available to all humanity.) Hopefully, you get my point and are as amazed at this revelation as I am.

 

But now that makes me feel like I’m a second-class family member in God’s eyes. How about you?

 

Don’t get bummed out now. There happens to be another group of people who are born via “an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs.”

 

I’m talking about being born again. Where do we get this concept?

 

Becoming born again, known to most of us Gentile Christians as “gettin’ saved,” is through “an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs” first revealed in Ezekiel 11:19-20 “I will give them integrity of heart and put a new spirit within them (this is the rebirth); I will remove their heart of stone from their bodies and give them a heart of flesh, so that they will follow my statutes, keep my ordinances, and practice them. They will be my people, and I will be their God.” By implication, our “old spirit” is our old nature that is dead to God and stubbornly insists on sinning by following our thoughts and desires rather than the Lord’s. The only way to fix our dead spiritual condition is to replace our old dead spirit with a new spirit through which we can commune with the Lord and make us willing and able to obey His will.

 

In Ezekiel 36:26-27, we get more information about this divinely-wrought transformation. “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you (again, the rebirth transformation); I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will place my Spirit within you and cause you to follow my statutes and carefully observe my ordinances.” You can see the same elements as above. However, God reveals that this transformation (spiritual rebirth) will include His Holy Spirit moving into us and taking up residence. The Holy Spirit’s job is to help us understand and carry out God’s way of living (John 14:17, 16:13-15).

 

Finally, Jeremiah prophesied the same promise as Ezekiel but referred to this transformation as part of a new covenant (Jeremiah 31:31). Jeremiah continues, “‘Instead, this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days’—the Lord’s declaration. ‘I will put my teaching within them (part of the rebirth process) and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people’” (Jeremiah 31:33). Through the Father’s grace, Jesus’ sacrificial work, and the power of the Holy Spirit, we’re transformed inside so God can reestablish the close relationship that we were created to have with Him. The change makes us so absolutely different (dead to alive is different), it’s as if we were new people, born all over again, I.e., born again.

 

Apostle John talks about this miraculous spiritual rebirth as becoming God’s children. “But to all who did receive him, he gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were bornnot of natural descent, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, (natural birth) but of God (spiritual rebirth)” (John 1:12-13).

 

Being “born again” is the only way to reconnect with our Heavenly Father and live forever with Him. “Jesus replied, ‘Truly I tell you, unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3, italics author).

 

For the record, being “born again” wasn’t a phrase Jesus created. In Jesus’ day, it was commonly understood to refer to the conversion process. You may have been born a Gentile, but when you completed the conversion process to join the Jewish people under the old covenant by circumcision and water immersion, you were “born again” into God’s Jewish family and became spiritually new, like a newborn baby. And just as blood and water are part of a baby’s physical birth, circumcision (blood) and water immersion are part of a former pagan’s rebirth as a new person in God’s Jewish family.

 

Understanding this explains why Jesus questions Rabbi Nicodemus’ focus on physical birth while missing His point about everyone’s need for spiritual rebirth. “‘How can anyone be born when he is old?’ Nicodemus asked him. ‘Can he enter his mother’s womb a second time and be born?’ Jesus answered, “Truly I tell you, unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I told you that you must be born again” (John 3:4-7). In other words, one is not born of God simply through physical birth or conversion, as it was up to that point. To truly enter God’s kingdom requires a transformation on a spiritual level.

 

I love that the Lord uses natural pictures to explain spiritual things. Physical birth involves water and requires air intake for the new baby to come alive. The miracle of being supernaturally born again requires the intake of the Holy Spirit (Heb. ruach, spirit/wind). Water immersion is the act that affirms to the convert and the public what has already happened inside the born again person.

 

Being born again happens by faith, trusting that Jesus paid the price for our sins, and through the Holy Spirit’s power. No person can make themselves, or anyone else, spiritually alive. It is purely by God’s power. No one can be born again without God causing “an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs.”

 

See? That means every person who has been born again is a walking miracle.

 

The Jewish people are still the only people on earth created by a miracle at the physical level. But all born again followers of Jesus, Jew or Gentile, are the only people on earth created by a miracle at the spiritual level. We are a miracle people born of a miracle-working Messiah who performed the greatest miracle of all by recreating a people fit for eternity with Him and joining them to His original miracle people (the people of Israel, Romans 11:17) who will also be miraculously saved when God wraps up His master plan of salvation and restoration (Romans 11:26-27). Paul even quotes Jeremiah 31:31-34 in Romans 11:27 as the way all Israel, every Jew, will be miraculously born again – only through the New Covenant.

 

Hmm, does that make born again Jewish believers God’s miraculous miracle people? I’ll have to ponder that.

 

One final thought. If the Jews are God’s miracle people according to physical birth and Jesus’ followers are God’s miracle people according to spiritual rebirth, does that mean us walking miracles are perfect?

 

Absolutely not! Just as God’s miracle people, Abraham’s offspring, struggled to walk right with their Heavenly Father, so do we, Jesus’ miraculous spiritual offspring. So, how did Israel deal with sin when they fell short of God’s standards under the Older Covenant? With sacrifices that had to be made continually because people were prone to sin.

 

But this is different for Jesus’ born again family, and here’s where another miracle happens. Through “an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs,” Jesus died for us, and our Heavenly Father continually forgives our sins and cleanses us based on the ongoing effect of Jesus’ sacrifice (1 John 1:8-9).

 

Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection set in motion numerous miracles over the last two thousand years as multitudes of people were reborn into God’s kingdom and family.

 

And the miracles continue.

 

Are you one of His miracle people? If not, call out to the Lord and ask Him to do His miracle in you and watch what happens. If you are born again, take a moment to bask in the warmth of God’s grace and thank Him for His divine intervention in your affairs.

 

Sources:


Shining the Light of God’s Truth on the Road Ahead

 

Pastor Jay Christianson

The Truth Barista, Frothy Thoughts


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