!Sermon Title : Miracles by Pastor Paddick Van Zyl
Do miracles still happen today? What is God’s take on miracles? How may we define a miracle: According to the dictionary-?
Miracle (noun) :
‘an extraordinary and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore attributed to a divine agency.
"the miracle of rising from the grave"
Synynoms: Supernatural phenomenon, Prodigy, Sign
a remarkable event or development that brings very welcome consequences.
"it was a miracle that more people hadn't been killed"
an exceptional product or achievement, or an outstanding example of something.
"a machine which was a miracle of design"
For a biblical definition of what a miracle is, we look at what Kris Samons of Probe Ministries says:
‘Miracles are those acts that only God can perform; usually superseding natural laws. Bakers’s Dictionary of the Bible define a miracle as “an event in the external world brought about by the immediate agency or the simple volition of God” It goes on to add that a miracle occurs to show that the power behind it is not limited to the laws of matter or mind as it interrupts fixed natural laws. So the term supernatural applies quite accurately. It is very interesting that a common word used for miracle in the New Testament can also be translated “sign”. A miracle is a sign that God uses to point to Himself; the same way we follow signs to find a museum or an airport.’
1-37 Living Bible (TLB)
4 One day the wife of one of the seminary students came to Elisha to tell him of her husband’s death. He was a man who had loved God, she said. But he had owed some money when he died, and now the creditor was demanding it back. If she didn’t pay, he said he would take her two sons as his slaves.
2 “What shall I do?” Elisha asked. “How much food do you have in the house?”
“Nothing at all, except a jar of olive oil,” she replied.
3 “Then borrow many pots and pans from your friends and neighbors!” he instructed.
4 “Go into your house with your sons and shut the door behind you. Then pour olive oil from your jar into the pots and pans, setting them aside as they are filled!”
5 So she did. Her sons brought the pots and pans to her, and she filled one after another!
6 Soon every container was full to the brim!
“Bring me another jar,” she said to her sons.
“There aren’t any more!” they told her. And then the oil stopped flowing!
7 When she told the prophet what had happened, he said to her, “Go and sell the oil and pay your debt, and there will be enough money left for you and your sons to live on!”
8 One day Elisha went to Shunem. A prominent woman of the city invited him in to eat, and afterwards, whenever he passed that way, he stopped for dinner.
9 She said to her husband, “I’m sure this man who stops in from time to time is a holy prophet.
10 Let’s make a little room for him on the roof; we can put in a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp, and he will have a place to stay whenever he comes by.”
In this chapter of Kings, we find two notable miracles. Now, the Word of God is filled with miracles from Genesis to Revelation. Jesus performed many miracles and signs of supernatural origin that were not recorded, as the Apostle John reminds us (John 20:30-31). Focusing our attention on these two miracles in Kings, we see something remarkable:
The widow with the oil
The couple with their child
Both miracles were performed by the hand and anointing upon the life of Elisha who in turn received his ,double portion of anointing, from Elijah 9.
Elijah had a similar experience to that of Elisha in 12-24
The anointing was transferred and miracles took place. That same anointing is upon you and me even today. For it is not us doing the miraculous but the Spirit of God working through us.
The widow in our illustration today in 2 Kings, needed only one thing: something with which to pay her debts. That was her need, finances. Dr. Thomas Constable notes the following:
‘It was common in the ancient Near East for creditors to enslave the children of debtors who could not pay. The Mosaic Law also permitted this practice (Exodus 21:2-4, Leviticus 25:39). However, servitude in Israel was to end on the Year of Jubilee.
God provided miraculously for the dire needs of this widow who had put God first, in contrast to the majority who did not do so in Israel (cf. Matthew 6:33). God's miraculous multiplication of oil symbolized the adequacy of God's Spirit to provide all that the widow needed. This seems clear from the significance of oil elsewhere in Scripture. It is a symbol of the Holy Spirit (cf. Leviticus 8; 1 Samuel 10:1; 1 Samuel 16:13; Luke 11:13; et al.’
The couple and more notably the ‘prominent woman or wife’ had no needs. The Word of God does not make it clear and is silent as to the fact that she desired secretly a child of her own. Their need for a miracle came later when their child died prematurely. Their first miracle was that of receiving a child when they were not expecting one and did not ask for one.
God is so amazing that He knows the secret petitions of our heart (Psalm 37:4), those dreams that we have hidden deep in our soul that we do not share with anyone, He knows about it and He is a loving heavenly Father that wants to give us good things and bless us (Luke 11:10-13). It is interesting to note that the couple sowed into Elisha’s ministry long before the miracle took place. They blessed the servant of God.
The widow received her miracle not in money (what she needed) but in oil which she was able to use for cooking as well as trading for money with which to settle her debts. In fact, she was able to live from the balance of the proceeds after her debts was settled (v7). She was in control of her own miracle, as long as she had bottles to fill, the oil would have not dried up: 2 Kings 4:3-7
The couple’s miracle of new life (child) was stolen by the enemy. Yet God restored life to them. In the midst of their storm, child’s death, they needed and trusted God for their miracle. And God answered them, the same way that wants to answer each and every one of us when we are in need of and request a miracle.
The woman made haste to get to God’s prophet, Elisha, for her miracle. She kept her confession of faith and her hope (2 Kings 4:16) and did not allow doubt to get in the way of the miracle. As L.M Grant remarks:
‘As she approached Mount Carmel Elisha saw her in the distance, and told Gehazi to run to meet her and ask if it was well with her, her husband and her child (v.26). But it was not the servant she wanted, and she answered him briefly, "It is well." It was her faith that moved her to say this, not any thought of deception.’
Elisha had to do something different than simply pry for the dead child. God instructed him to lay his body on the child’s and prayed. The first time the boy only became warm. Elisha did this same routine for a second time. Then only did the boy wake up and sneeze. At times, we will have to persist in our fait, and do something out of the ordinary, it may even look silly. The question is: how badly do I want my miracle?
L.M. Grant in his commentary sheds some more insight into this incident of Elisha praying over the boy as follows:
‘Elisha in coming in to the child, shut the door and prayed. The actual bringing to life of the child was not to be witnessed by anyone. Then Elisha lay on the child, with his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hand on his hand (v.34). How clearly this shows us that life can only come from life. In picture, the Lord puts His mouth on our mouth, breathing in the breath of life, that will have pure effect on what we speak. His eyes on our eyes speak of light coming from His eyes to enlighten ours. His hands on our hands pictures the work of His hands giving to our hands the ability to work for Him. Elisha stretching himself on the child speaks of the energy the Lord expends to give life to us.
The flesh of the child became warm. Was he alive? Yes indeed! But Elisha, after walking back and forth in the house, came again to repeat what he had done. Though life was in the child, the full vigour of life was lacking, so that the second action of Elisha was necessary to produce "life more abundantly" (John 10:10). The child sneezed seven times and opened his eyes. The sneezing speaks of the fact that life has power in itself to clear the channels of life, just as sneezing clears the channels of the respiratory system. The seven times speaks of the completeness of the work done. The Lord does not make us barely alive, but brings us to a state of enjoying the full vigour of life.
Elisha then told Gehazi to call the woman, and he simply said to her, "Pick up your son" (v.30). His heart was so full he did not trust himself to say more, and her heart was so full she could say nothing, but she bowed at his feet to the ground, took up her son and went out (v.37). They understood one another perfectly. But now the woman had learned, not only of the grace and power of God in giving life, but that same grace and power in resurrection life. In fact, Shunem means "double rest," and this dear woman had learned this double rest in the birth of her son and in his resurrection.’
But the couple also received another miracle: Their land and home was about to be reposed by the king: 2 Kings 8: 1-6
The king ordered that their land, all that belonged to them as well as the proceeds from her field be restored to them from, back dated to the day they left the land. Talk about God restoring double what the enemy has stolen. Not only did they get a son, they also got their son raised back to life and their land and home was restored to them. What a miracle.
God does not favor one above another. What He does for one He will surely do for each one, the key is Faith. Faith for the miracle you need. Faith that God is good and wants to bless you and I:
34 And Peter opened his mouth and said: Most certainly and thoroughly I now perceive and understand that God shows no partiality and is no respecter of persons,
6 But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].
Why are we not seeing more miracles today? Is it God that is not willing? No, absolutely not! The question we need to ask ourselves is:
Is my life conducive for God to touch others with His miracle working power and for signs to manifest to give Him the glory, not me. It is all about Jesus, nothing of me or about me. How is my fellowship with the Father, with the Holy Spirit? Is there sin in my life that has not been dealt with? Am I a pure and honorable conduit for God the Holy Spirit to make use of to perform miracles through? God is willing and able….I need to align myself and my faith with Him and miracles will take place. Miracles is one of the best ways for the unsaved to het saved in an instant. A supernatural miracle can not be denied. A scientist can try to reason it away by formulas, an atheist can try and reason it away with the big bang theory perhaps, but a miracle is simply that: a supernatural occurrence that is beyond the norm and that changed the course of nature in front of our eyes, and that can not be disputed. If we have faith and dare to believe God for the miraculous to bring Glory to His Name and to get people saved and have them experience the power and presence of God for themselves, and not draw attention to myself, then we will experience miracle upon miracle for others but also for ourselves.
If you need a miracle today, then please come forward and let us pray and stand in faith together on the Word of God, the miracle giver…..
1 Kris Samons Probe Ministries “What is a Biblical Definition of a Miracle?” http://probe.org
2 Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable http://studylight.org
3 L.M Grant’s Commentary on the Bible http://studylight.org
4 L.M Grant’s Commentary on the Bible http://studylight.org