The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"Supernatural Workings, Natural Ways"
God's supernatural workings often appear in the most natural ways.
"Being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise and take the young child and his mother and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word. For Herod will seek the young child to destroy Him. When he arose, he took the young child and His mother by night, and departed into Egypt" (Matthew 2:12-14).
Rather than sending legions of angels to protect the Lord Jesus Christ, God communicated by a lone angelic messenger to Joseph the most seemingly uninspired means of escaping harm: "Flee! And don't come back until the danger has passed and you hear from me."
No casual observer of Joseph's actions would have considered the flight with his family as an act of God. It rather appeared as the most ordinary and human of responses to peril. Matthew plainly informs us, however, that the Lord prescribed the path of escape from Herod as His divine means of caring for His Son and our Savior. "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24).
When circumstances require a mountain to be removed, or the sun to stop in its tracks, God executes matters accordingly. However, He frequently answers prayers in ways only the pray-er will recognize as answers, and even he may miss when the Lord's hand acts quietly and inauspiciously. Throughout the life of the Lord Jesus, He more often appeared as "the carpenter's son" rather than as the Son of God who served as the answer to centuries of prayer by His people (Matthew 13:55). Indeed, the greatest of all answers to prayer, the incarnation of Christ and His redeeming work, frequently appeared far more human than divine.
Many years after the escape of Joseph and family, another work of God that appeared for all the world earthly would take place. "If Thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross" (Matthew 27:40). No fleeing occurred in this answer to prayer. Instead, the fulfillment of God's promises and His faithful response to His people's pleas hung fastened to a cross formed by men's hands, for the purpose of impaling a man's hands. Yes, it all looked so human. But it was divine. It was the answer to millions of prayers long prayed. It was God, acting in ways we might not expect, but which actually accords with the Bible's ongoing revelation that He often veils His power in order to more greatly reveal the wisdom and wonder of His providence. "My strength is made perfect in weakness" (II Corinthians 12:9).
Sometimes, answers to prayer envelop us in the glory of God. We fail to see, however, because we often forget His present work of acting in ways contrary to appearances and expectations. "Flee!" said the angel to Joseph long ago. "Remain and die!" led the Spirit as the Lord Jesus suffered on the cross for us. Both served as answers to prayer, the prayers of multitudes, offered over the course of centuries. However, both appeared as anything but answers. We do well to remember their lessons regarding our own prayers, and God's faithful responses often seen only by faith.
"We walk by faith, not by sight."
(II Corinthians 5:7)
Weekly Memory Verse
Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort, who comforteth us in all our tribulation.
(II Corinthians 1:3-4).