Thursday, February 4, 2010

Mid-Day Devotion 2/4/10

“This is the word that came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, after that the king Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people which were at Jerusalem, to proclaim liberty unto them; That every man should let his manservant, and every man his maidservant, being an Hebrew or an Hebrewess, go free; that none should serve himself of them, to wit, of a Jew his brother. Now when all the princes, and all the people, which had entered into the covenant, heard that every one should let his manservant, and every one his maidservant, go free, that none should serve themselves of them any more, then they obeyed, and let them go. But afterward they turned, and caused the servants and the handmaids, whom they had let go free, to return, and brought them into subjection for servants and for handmaids.”
Jeremiah 34:8-11

The big, unquestionable miracles of the Lord…

We all want to see the parting of the Red Sea, or the great pillar of light that leads the slaves from captivity, we all want to see something great and grand like the walls of Jericho coming crumbling down as if nothing more than dust set to the wind as God brings His people from bondage to finally find themselves safe, finally to look upon their home. We want to see the wondrous miracles, the magnificent gestures that remove all doubt from our minds as we undeniably see God move through this world in ways that transcend our human understanding and our temporal knowledge.

We look upon this world, and we have tendency to dismiss the things that we see. Our inclination is to believe that, without those big acts, without those irrefutable miracles, God isn’t present. We want our miracles to be something that we can marvel at, something that fills us with a deep and abiding sense of wonder as we are left with a sense of awe and astonishment. Without that we just end up believing as if we are alone.

Yet to consider the story of King Zedekiah, established on the throne of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar as the Tributary ruler of these lands, we come to see that the Lord, He works in different ways, and His hand, His presence, it can be seen through means that, though they may not appear to be miraculous, show that He contends with the cause of His people, struggling for freedom and liberty even amidst the most trying of days of their lives. Though plagues may not have been unleashed and manna might not have been brought down from heaven, still He moves in through this world even when the struggle is upon us and the great miracles may be far from our presence.

You see, as the slaves and the servants longed for their freedom, yearning to put their slavery behind them, God heard their cries. Yet He did not send down His angel with a flaming sword or open the heavens to speak with a booming voice to proclaim the end to their servitude. No, though He was capable of it, though He had, time and time again, proven it possible for him to do just that, He used the government and the kings, the rulers and the legislation of the land to decree the end of captivity and to declare the love that He had for those who dwelt amidst bondage.

There freedom would come through the most basic of ways, through the most basic of means, according to the love of God in their lives.

Why was there no question or doubt where this had come from? The simple answer is that the nature of man is not inclined towards freedom, nor is it inclined towards liberty. Though each of us desire our own freedom, history has shown, time and time again, that unless we are shown, unless we are led down a path by our own oppression and subjugation at the hands of others, we are less concerned with the liberty of fellow man. It is only when God works in our hearts through the power of His Holy Spirit to show us His love, altering our perceptions and how it is that we view the world differently than our base human nature.

The big miracles, the wondrous miracles, they aren’t God’s first choice though.

In Egypt, as the children of Israel toiled as slaves building the great cities to Pharaoh’s glory, God would send His prophet to deliver them. Yet Moses’ first act, it wasn’t to perform a great miracle by the power that the Lord had given him. It was to petition the ruler of the lands, to plead the cause of his people before him, seeking his mercy in their lives that he would break the chains that bound them, and set them free. It was only after Pharaoh’s heart turned to his corrupt, dark nature, refusing to her the remonstrance’s of the prophet that God would work through the marvels and the wonders that would be seen.

Often times, looking at the world and this present age, considering the darkness that it brings, we forget those lessons. We fail to see the hand of the Lord at work because He doesn’t always move in the ways that we want him to move. In the end we dismiss His power to change people, to move people to act, to alter the course of events because we want a sense of wonder in our miracles.

Yet, ever present and ever vigilant for the cause of His people, God’s will is done, worked through this world from the smallest of acts to the greatest of deeds, to bring justice to bear and to contend with the rights that He has endowed His creation with. It doesn’t have to be all fire and brimstone, or the parting of the seas for that to be apparent in our lives and in our world as He casts aside the darkness and lets the light finally shine through. We just have to open our eyes and our hearts to see it, as we pray that, through whatever means He sees fit to us, that the cause of His people as they struggle with captivity and bondage is set first that finally they shall come once more to the blessings of His freedom amidst His abiding justice.

Just because we can’t see the great and grand miracles doesn’t mean that they aren’t there. Sometimes it just means that God works in mysterious ways, molding and tempering men and women to act. Sometimes it means that when He parts a sea, it just happens to be a sea of darkness that comes to encompass the lives of the unrighteous, and when He uses a pillar of light, it is used to illuminate the hidden places of the heart and soul, made gloomy by sin and iniquity. Sometimes it just means that the manna from Heaven is the food for the spirit that fills the heart with the love and the compassion of men to act even when it seems as if all hope is lost.

Be not quick to dismiss the miracles of the Lord because they do not seem like they are miracles, but remember that through His mercy and grace, He is capable of all things, even when it seems as if we are at our most alone or that the works of His hands are far distant from the lives of those who struggle through the deepest challenges and the darkest of struggles that come to encompass their being. He shall show His righteousness in their lives as He proves that He is a God who is ever faithful to His word, forever at work, forever on the move, contending with the cause of His people through all of their days, come what may, come what must.

When we take that time, when we open our eyes, then a whole world of miracles, a whole world of possibilities that once were shut off from us, are made known to us through the abiding love of the Lord and the power of His glorious Spirit.

Lord, grant that understanding unto us all…

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.


Through You Lord are all things, great and small, possible, as You move through this world and in this world, making Your presence know through the wonders of Your hands. Open then our eyes and illuminate our hearts that, by the power of Your Spirit, we may see the marvels that You perform even as it seems as if we are at our alone and there are none to hear our cries as we yearn for the promises that You have made unto Your people.

For the MS Rim, hijacked off of the Gulf of Aden, do we pray, uplifting the crew of this ship to You O Lord. During these times of trouble give them peace, during these days of struggle show them love, contending with their cause even as they find themselves now held in the grimmest of estates. Let them see Your hand in their lives as You give them strength and courage to endure this ordeal as You stand beside them, offering unto them peace even when it seems so fleeting, so quick to be lost amidst this corporeal plan, by the unrighteousness of men of brutal iniquity.

To You do we commend also the cause of Callie Scheepers, Johan Enslin, Hardus Greef, and Andre Durant, held captive these long months in Baghdad. Give them perseverance that, though pain and suffering, darkness and chaos may surround them as they know the anguish and the pain that has come to encompass their lives, they have the endurance to overcome this dark estate that they now find themselves in. Give their families peace that through they struggle with the challenges and the trials, the tribulations and the hurt that they now dwell in they shall know that You are at work bringing liberty to the cause of those whom they so love and long to see once more.

Let not the lives of these men, any of these souls, be given to the unrighteousness and the iniquity of the brutality and the sin that now so enslave them, but break all the chains of bondage and captivity that so entangle them that they shall know that a merciful God walks beside them, showing His works, performing His miracles in their lives even when it seems as if all hope was gone. Then shall all see that there is a glorious God who works in the most significant of ways in the lives of His people, for the strength of their will and the perseverance of their souls.

In the name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the Kingdom, one God, world without end, Amen.

Second Prayer:

By Your Hand Lord show the miracles of Your righteousness as You move through this world and in this world in even the darkest of places, showing Your grace and Your mercy in the lives of Your people.

To You do we commend the lives of all prisoners and hostages, all captives and slaves, bound by the chains of unrighteousness and iniquity in this world. Hear their names as they escape our lips, feel their pain as they dwell amidst our hearts, show Your love as they are uplifted by Your compassion. Be a shepherd unto them, leading them from the darkness and the sorrow, from the grim path that they now find themselves upon to the green pastures of Your love for them. Let them not be devoured by the lions and the wolves of this World but show them that there is a merciful God whose rod and staff shall always be lifted for their protection and their rescue.

For all those whom we do not know do we pray dear Lord. There are those throughout the world whose names escape us and that we know not. They are held in places we do not know by people who hide far from our sights. Yet there is no place that can remain far from Your eyes. We pray then that You see these souls, that You find these people and that You give them Your hope, sheltering them in the shadow of Your wing, illuminating their path to freedom once more.

Create in those who take prisoners and captives a clean heart and lead them to the path of Your righteousness, that they may put behind them all darkness and pain, that they may abandon their path of hatred and iniquity, that no longer shall they work such hurt, such sorrow in this world. Let them see the suffering that they bring and as You guide them by the power of Your compassion to disperse the dark clouds that no encompass their hearts and bring them to a sincere sense of repentance for the evil they have brought into this world by the power of their hand.

To You do we commend all who are held in any sort of captivity, whether it is a captivity of the body or the mind, the spirit or the soul. Free the sick and the diseased, bring compassion to the impoverished and show love to those who are afflicted by intolerance, bringing Your healing touch to their lives that they may come to the blessings of Your liberty, even as all seems lost in their lives.

Then shall the miracles of Your hand be worshiped and glorified for their great and grand nature in our lives, in the lives of all Your people.

In the name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the Kingdom, one God, world without end, Amen.

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