Summary: To praise God for the "silent" miracles which occur alongside the "thundering" ones'!
Miracles within miracles!
First things first. Why are so many miracles recorded in the Scriptures? For us to be awed by the all-powerful ways of Almighty God and spontaneously praise Him in the spirit of adoration! The very purpose of our Creation is to worship Him (the very first declaration in Westminster Catechism, which encapsulates Christian faith best, testifies to this fact). Oh yes, reading about miracles also reinforces our faith in Him, to deliver us from our difficulties. Now permit me to sidetrack just a bit and visit the World of tennis or more precisely that of Davis cup!
Davis cup? Oh that poor country cousin of the Grand Slams, which the top stars usually shun? Whatever way one may view this team competition, I am a great fan of it for the simple reason, computer rankings go haywire once the DC tie begins! With patriotism ruling the roost, we see “many upsets” in this competition, where a lower ranked player (high on patriotic adrenaline) often gets the better of a higher ranked one. Yet another fascinating aspect of Davis cup competition is that it packages and presents hi-octane CONTESTS WITHIN CONTESTS. Confused? Let me explain.
While Davis cup competition primarily pits a country against a country, essentially within this broad contest, what keeps the spectators engaged is a gripping contest within a contest of two players representing their national flags. Let’s take the recent Davis cup final between Spain and Argentina for example. Even as an engaging contest was on between TWO COUNTRIES, there was that EXCITING CONTEST WITHIN A CONTEST between two baseline sluggers-Nadal and Del Porto. These two Grand slam champions going toe-to-toe provided for some lip-smacking stuff for many a tennis buff. Old timers would also nostalgically recall some classic DC contests…notably the 6-hour marathon featuring Becker and McEnroe in a 1987 tie between Germany and USA or the Wilander, McEnroe epic (also of 6 hrs) in a 1982 contest between Sweden and USA. All these bring me to the like sounding spiritual theme …“MIRACLES WITHIN MIRACLES” (high time some readers might say).
A bit dazed once again? Permit me to clarify at the outset before expounding this subject, further. We always praise God for many an awe-inspiring miracle in the Bible but have we praised Him for some “silent” miracles within “thundering” miracles. Not so much for felling a Goliath, as for silently “directing” the stone slung by the shepherd boy to its target!
In this sermon, I want bring to the fore three such extra-ordinary Biblical accounts under the following subheadings
1. Gosh (en)! What a protected land without walls!
2. Standing tall on a crumbling Wall!
3. Precision bombing!
Gosh(en)! What a protected land without walls!
Goshen was the name of the district in which the Jews were penned (like sheep in a pen) in Egypt during the times of Moses. Gosh! What a land within Egypt! Is how any first time Bible reader would react on repeatedly coming across God’s special protection of his special people living there, awaiting deliverance from slavery. Now once again, permit me to visit the World of sports (boxing ring to be precise, this time) to drive home a point (I never tire of reiterating the fact that God’s Word by creative study needs to be enjoyed thoroughly).
Normally, in a boxing bout, before the killer blow arrives there are a few “softening blows” which are anything but soft, setting up the stage for the final coup de grace. After that the scene of the victor standing triumphantly beside the vanquished lying limp in the canvas would invariably emerge. The fact of the matter is that the softening blows are just as important as the knockout punch. Ditto treatment of cancer; the preceding cycles of chemotherapy to root out the dreaded disease are just as vital as the final long session.
The Book of Exodus (Chapters 7-10) records a series of “Divine softening punches” unleashed on the hard-hearted Pharoah, before the knock-out punch in the form of killing of the eldest offspring (Chapters 11-12) arrived. God “who donned the gloves” and fought on the “corner” of His unarmed chosen ones’ (they obtained their independence without as much as raising their little finger against their oppressors) in the Egyptian soil unleashed one softening blow after another on the stubborn tyrant, who was hell bent on not releasing Jacob’s descendents from the clutches of slavery. One such softening blow that preceded the knockout punch was the biggest hailstorm in Egyptian history that hit the Nation of Pyramids (Exodus 9:23-26). I am picking out and laying special emphasis on this miracle in the series of miracles that occurred before and after it only to bring home the fact that “silent miracles” do occur alongside “blaring” ones! While doubtless, we are awed by God’s power in this miracle of whipping up a devastating hailstorm that leveled all of Egypt, what about a silent miracle, which accompanied this boisterous thunder, and lighting miracle? Verse 26 records pointedly “ The only spot in all Egypt without hail that day was the land of Goshen where the people of Israel lived”. Talk of an invisible wall of protection around the land of Goshen, which had no physical walls rising to the skies…