Summary: God is always present with us but often shows himself clearest to non believers when we go through the fire.
Three weeks ago, we began a new teaching series around the supernatural. We discussed the idea that Jesus' presence and works 2000 years ago represent an orderly working of the world many don’t recognise nor do they understand, so they call the events - supernatural.
Supernatural by definition is: (a manifestation or event) attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature.)
Science generates solutions for everyday life and helps us to answer the great mysteries of the universe. ... It has a specific role, as well as a variety of functions for the benefit of our society including better relations between people, improving education, increasing the quality and even quantity of our lives while on earth.
However, just because science can not define or systemize an event doesn’t change it or the events significance in the world in which we live. A scientist can explain the transformation process of a caterpillar to a butterfly and it seems logical. However, when we “see” it take place it has a different impact.
Shortly before his death, the legendary film producer Cecil B DeMille wrote this beautiful meditation:
"One day as I was lying in a canoe, a big black beetle came out of the water and climbed up into the canoe. I watched it idly for some time. Under the heat of the sun, the beetle proceeded to die. Then a strange thing happened. His glistening black shell cracked all the way down his back. Out of it came a shapeless mass, quickly transformed into beautiful, brilliantly colored life. As I watched in fascination, there gradually unfolded iridescent wings from which the sunlight flashed a thousand colors. The wings spread wide, as if in worship of the sun. The blue-green body took shape. Before my eyes had occurred a metamorphosis--the transformation of a hideous beetle into a gorgeous dragonfly, which started dipping and soaring over the water. But the body it had left behind still clung to my canoe.
"I had witnessed what seemed to me a miracle. Out of the mud had come a beautiful new life. And the thought came to me, that if the Creator works such wonders with the lowliest of creatures, what may not be in store for the human spirit?"
Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see. God is not outside the realm of our world or existence reaching in when summoned to do so. He is always present. He is in every aspect of our lives.
The scriptures share hundreds of stories where God suspends what science has declared as truth to demonstrate how present our God really is.
Have you ever heard or said the idiom, “jumping into the fire”? The meaning is simple - the event or the action will be defining and refining.
Did you know the origin of the phrase? It comes from the scriptures. Specifically, it comes from the book of Daniel, Chapter 3. You remember the supernatural story of three young men, shadrach, meshach and abednego. They were captured and brought to serve in the king’s advisory counsel. However, they were not going to bow down to the king because of their belief in God. The result of their obedience to the Lord had them through into a furnace stoked to seven times its normal heat level. It’s here we pick up the story...
22 The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, 23 and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace. 24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.” 25 He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”
26 Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!”
Talk about the supernatural! Even the king who wants the young men killed is prompted to take a look in the furnace. The septuagint adds that the king heard the boys singing. So he ran to the opening to see the Son of God. Jesus was in the fire with the boys, stopping the inevitable. Protecting those who are obedient and using a miracle to point to a truth, none of us should forget.
God is always present with us but often shows himself clearest to non believers when we go through the fire.
Psalm 23 comes to mind: "though I walk through the valley of death, I fear no evil…"