Summary: This sermon deals with the need to go through trials and tests before we see a miracle.
First The Test, Then The Miracle
There are a lot of people who want to see God do a miracle, but very few are volunteering to be in the circumstances which requires a miracle to take place. Many of us would like to walk on water, but don’t ask us to try it when we are already scared to death, in the middle a raging storm, in the dead darkness of night, with waves high enough to overturn a boat out in the middle of the lake. Ask us to do it when the water is calm, close by the shore, and we can just walk on out of the water if it fails. We cannot expect a miracle from God, when we really do not need one.
There is an order to miracles. First there is the test, then there is the miracle. The test requires us to put our hope and confidence in God, because we are unable to make the thing happen on our own. Our New Life Center is going to be a miracle, because looking at it from the natural eye, we do not have the financial resources available to make it happen. We do have the spiritual resources to bring it into reality. The test of our spiritual commitment, will bring about a miracle from the Lord to make the financial resources available.
In our Old Testament reading, we ran into the prophet Elisha. The King of Israel at the time was King Joram. Now there was nation called Aram, that had wanted to destroy King Joram. But each time the King of Aram, made plans to destroy the army of Israel, God would tell Elisha about the plan. Elisha would then tell the King of Israel, "look out, the King of Aram plans to attack you in such and such a place." Each time the King of Israel’s army was able to escape. The king of Aram thought one of his generals was a spy, leaking information to the king’s enemies.
The generals told him, "Oh King all of us here are with you, and we’ve got your back, but there is a prophet named Elisha, and according to our sources, that brother tells the King of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom." The king of Aram, said "find out where he is, and let’s take him out." They found out he was in the city of Dothan. The King of Aram sent his troops by night, and they completely surrounded the city.
Now you would have thought that since God was telling Elisha, when the king of Aram was coming after the King of Israel, God would have told Elisha to get up and get out of the city because the troops were coming. But God wants us to know, that a bad change of circumstances in our lives is just where He needs us to send us a miracle. That next morning when Elisha’s servant saw the Aramean army he almost panicked. He cried out "Oh my lord, what shall we do. They got us for sure this time." Elisha said, "Oh brother, don’t be afraid. We’ve got more on our side, than they have on theirs."
His servant must have looked at him funny. Elisha prayed, " Lord will you open his eyes so that he can see what I see." All of a sudden, the servant saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. My friends, when we are determined to live for the Lord, we are never alone. God’s got an angel looking out for you and your kids. Your husband may be gone or your wife may be gone, but you’re not in this battle alone. Others may think you have no way out, but they do not see with the same eyes you use to see. Just because others may be planning failure and disaster for you, it does not mean it’s going to happen.
The Arameans blew the horns to announce the start of the battle. As they came toward the city, Elisha cried out, "Strike these soldiers with blindness." The Lord did. The soldiers were not literally blinded, but they could not see things as they really were. Elisha told them, "you guys are in the wrong place, now if you follow me, I’ll lead you to the man you are looking for."
All of a sudden this army that came to kill him, are now following him as their leader. He took them straight to the capital city, where they were completely surrounded by the troops of the King Of Israel. Elisha prayed again, and said, "now lord open their eyes." When they saw they were in the capital city they were terrified, because they knew they were doomed. The King of Israel asked Elisha, "My father shall I take them out by killing them all right now." Elisha said, "no give them all the food and drink they need to have, and let them go on their way back to their king.