The Miracle, or the Miracle Maker?

Are you ready for God’s next miracle? The people of Israel weren’t, they had enjoyed them so far but they doubted whether God could keep up the performance.

He split the rocks in the wilderness
And gave them abundant drink like the ocean depths.
16 He brought forth streams also from the rock
And caused waters to run down like rivers.

17 Yet they still continued to sin against Him,
To rebel against the Most High in the desert.
18 And in their heart they put God to the test
By asking food according to their desire.
19 Then they spoke against God;
They said, “Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?
20 “Behold, He struck the rock so that waters gushed out,
And streams were overflowing;
Can He give bread also?
Will He provide meat for His people?”

21 Therefore the Lord heard and was full of wrath;
And a fire was kindled against Jacob
And anger also mounted against Israel,
22 Because they did not believe in God
And did not trust in His salvation. (Ps. 78:15-22)

Psalm 78 was written as a history lesson for God’s people. The events of the exodus, wilderness journey, conquest of Canaan, and the early monarchy all contained a moral: trust and obey God.1 Unfortunately, the lessons usually come from Israel’s failures.

Israel saw God do one miracle after another and yet they struggled to believe that His power would stretch to take care of their next need. Deserts are particularly good at depriving people of food and water. God had demonstrated His power over the parched landscape by splitting a rock and starting a river in the desert. When it came to food, Israel failed to see the water miracle in its proper light and they doubted whether God could provide food.

Most Christians have a story or two about God answering a prayer or doing some kind of miracle. Perhaps it involved healing. Often He provided finances just at the right moment. Occasionally it had to do with an opportunity to share the gospel with someone. Most of us are clear that being a Christian implies having faith in God. So far, so good.

But Christianity is more like Israel’s wilderness journey than we want it to be. God’s plan is for us to grow in faith. It is not enough to celebrate the last miracle that demonstrated God’s power over some desert of health, money, or witness. God wants our faith to reach forward for the next miracle, see a gushing river of spiritual life transform another spiritual desert.

That’s where Israel failed and where we have to learn from their mistake. Israel knew God could provide water but they doubted whether He could satisfy their hunger. Their questions reveal their unbelief, “Can He . . .?” “Will He . . .?” Children of faith are never afraid to ask their heavenly Father to help. The simple petition, “Give us today our daily bread” is grounded in faith that He is able and willing. But Israel were not asking in faith, they were questioning His care and His power.

Part of the problem might be focus. If our eyes are on ourselves and our needs, then the issue becomes one of needing a miracle to be satisfied. Whatever circumstances created our need often seem more real than any possibility of a solution. However, when our focus is on the God who can do anything, then the next miracle is never much of a stretch; it is an opportunity for God’s glory. Focus on the Miracle Maker, not on your need for a miracle.

The goal of Bible Maturity is to promote spiritual growth and faith in God. Please share these short Bible devotions with your friends and family and pray for revival.

  1. Ps. 78:7-8 []

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