The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Category Archives: Miracles of Yahweh

Understanding the Virgin Birth: Context & Mechanics

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The angel answered and said to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)

Whenever our Gods do something miraculous—like causing a virgin woman to become pregnant—humans can be counted on to become so obsessed with trying to understand the mechanics of the miracle that they miss the important lessons.  To avoid getting sidetracked by miracles in your own life, here’s a good rule to go by:

When God does something miraculous, focus on the why, not the how, and ask Him to help you learn everything He wants to teach you from the experience.

If you abide by this rule, you’ll steer clear of all kinds of silliness—such as dickering about exactly how Mary became pregnant.  Read more of this post

Elijah & Ahaziah: Death from Heaven

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Whenever someone dies, we usually say things like, “He died in a car wreck last year. He was shot last month. He died of leukemia yesterday.” Yet no matter what the earthly circumstances are, there’s one succinct description that always applies: “God killed him.” At some point, God will kill every one of us. How He kills us isn’t important. What matters is why. God will either kill us because He is pleased with our service on earth and eager to bring us to a better place, or He will strike us down in anger because He is fed up. We really want to go out the first way, but most people do not. King Ahaziah of Israel was an example of God striking someone dead in anger. Read more of this post

Know Your Bible Lesson 38: Writing on the Wall

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It’s party time in Babylon. King Nabonidus [nab-o-NIGH-duss] is off on military business and he has left the empire’s capital city under the control of his son Belshazzar [BELL-sha-zar]. Belshazzar is the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar [NEBB-you-cud-NEZZ-er], but unlike his grandfather, he has no respect for Yahweh. Tonight, Belshazzar just wants to have fun, so he throws a huge feast and invites a thousand of his rich friends to join him. When a fresh batch of wine is brought out and Belshazzar tastes it—mmm, that’s good stuff. This calls for some nicer glasses. Aren’t there some fancy gold and silver dishes stored in a room somewhere? Yes, they are the ones that Nebuchadnezzar took out of Yahweh’s Temple in Jerusalem before he burned it down. Well, those will do nicely. Belshazzar gives the order and Yahweh’s sacred dishes are brought out. Read more of this post

Know Your Bible Lesson 37: Man Turns Cow

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In a rebellious world where most souls turn away from Him, Yahweh is very interested in protecting what reverence He finds. The problem with His little humans is that whenever Yahweh places them in positions of power, it goes to their heads and they start taking the bows for all the things that Yahweh accomplished through them. Such rebellion can’t be allowed to persist forever, and by now Yahweh has struck down countless rulers in the prime of life because they wouldn’t submit to His Authority. King David of Israel was a refreshing exception: he stayed loyal to the end. Before him there was Moses, Abraham, Job, and Joshua—men who Yahweh could give great power and influence to without them running amuck. But these days the pickings are slim. Israel is a shattered nation, the Jews are mocking Yahweh from the many nations where He scattered them, and it’s hard to find souls who are loyal to Him. Happily, there is Daniel. Daniel is quite a shining star in Yahweh’s eyes, and his devotion is so deep that Yahweh has been able to build him up into quite a powerful figure in the government of the Babylonian Empire. Now Daniel is shining a bright light for Yahweh all throughout Babylon–and especially in the face of King Nebuchadnezzar [NEBB-uh-cud-NEZZ-er]. Read more of this post

Know Your Bible Lesson 17: All About Elisha

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In our last lesson, Elijah was taken up to Heaven in one of the most dramatic statements of “you please Me” that God has ever handed out. Getting to skip the entire hassle of death and being whisked straight off to Yahweh’s Presence–wow, what a compliment. It’s fantastic for Elijah, but we can’t help but feel like he left a bit prematurely. After all, he was supposed to anoint a new king of Israel (Jehu [JAY-who]) and a new king of Aram (Hazael [huh-ZAY-el]). But he didn’t. So who’s going to? This is where successors come in handy. Elisha has inherited both of these assignments and he’ll be carrying them out shortly. Read more of this post

Revere Yahweh or Die: Lessons Learned when the Philistines Stole the Ark

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In the Bible, all wars were god wars. It wasn’t just who had the most brawn on the battlefield, it was about whose gods were the toughest in the supernatural realms. Everyone understood this. The atheism we promote today would have been considered utterly absurd in those times. No one doubted the existence of gods. The only question was whose gods were the greatest on any given day. Read more of this post

Balak & Balaam: God Wars

Balak & Balaam: God Wars

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In Numbers 22-24, we find the account of an evil king and an evil sorcerer who team up to try and defeat the nation of Israel through dark magic. This is one of those particularly difficult stories in the Bible because a lot of critical information is left out. If you just read these three chapters, you’ll come away with a very wrong impression of the sorcerer, Balaam. At first glance, he seems like an innocent bystander who reveres Yahweh and does nothing wrong. We only learn about Balaam’s true motivations through comments that are made later on in the Old and New Testaments. In this post, we’ll piece all the fragments together and see what we can learn. Read more of this post

Saving Egypt: The Story of the Ten Plagues

Saving Egypt: The Story of the Ten Plagues

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In Exodus 7-12 we find the famous account of God unleashing ten terrible plagues onto Egypt in order to motivate Pharaoh into freeing his Israelite slaves. Because the writer of this story (Moses) is sympathetic to the Jews, it’s easy for us to think only of the Jewish perspective and forget to sympathize with the Egyptians. While all of Israel is miraculously sheltered from experiencing any of the epic plagues where they live in Goshen, the citizens of Egypt watch their nation and loved ones being brutally destroyed in front of them. Doesn’t God love the Egyptians, too? Of course He does, and it is very much for their sake that He drags this frightening experience out for so long. Read more of this post

Miracles of Yahweh: Parting the Jordan River

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Unbelievers like to try and come up with logical explanations for the parting of the Red Sea in Exodus 14 and the crossing of the Jordan River in Joshua 3. In both cases, Yahweh parts a body of water to allow His people to cross through. If you hunt, you can find “scientific” documentaries that will try to write God out of these stories, giving the glory to freak tides or some natural damming event or strong winds that could have caused the water to part temporarily. But no, it was actually God performing miracles. And just to underscore His own magnificence, Yahweh throws in a fascinating little detail: in both cases, the Israelites walked across on dry land. Scientists can strain their brains to try and find some “natural” way to part waters, but none of them can explain away that dry dirt.

In Joshua 3-4, we find this thrilling sequence:

3:15 – The priests carrying the Ark step INTO the water.
3:16 – The water instantly stops flowing and starts piling up on itself a long ways upstream
3:17 – The priests walk out on DRY GROUND to the middle of the river bed and then they just stand there and wait while all the other people pass by.
4:4 – After everyone’s through, the priests are still standing there and Joshua sends men back to get rocks out of the middle of the dry river bed to carry as future monuments of this miraculous event
4:18 – Joshua finally tells the priests to finish crossing. As soon as the priests’ feet touch try ground, the water starts flowing again.

Yes, God is awesome.

Oh, and one more thing He’d like us to note: this all happened at a point when the river was at its peak flow, rising over its banks (4:18). Yahweh likes to show off, after all. He wants us to know He didn’t part some shriveled up brook, but a massive body of water.

When God does miracles in the Bible, it’s to exalt Himself. Joshua tells the people:

“Yahweh did this so all people would know that He has great power and so that you would always respect Yahweh your God.” (Josh. 4:24)

This means that anyone who sets out to explain some miraculous event in the Bible for any reason other than to point out God’s great power and urge others to revere Him is not someone we Christians want to listen to. Instead, we need to remember that:

“The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of wisdom…” (Prov. 1:7)

Fleeing From Phantoms: How God Used Noise to Scatter an Army

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We tend to avoid the more gruesome stories in the Bible because they make us uncomfortable. When our eyes fall on brief one liners about mothers eating their children or God killing off His own people, we quickly skip ahead. The problem with jumping over the parts that bother us is that we end up with a general feeling of negativity towards the entire Old Testament and we draw the very false conclusion that the God we find there is a mean, short-tempered, violent sort of Being—quite different than our loving Jesus. But of course this isn’t true. Nowhere will we ever find a more patient, loving, generous, gracious God than the magnificent Yahweh. When we read about Him striking thousands dead and then conclude that He’s unfair, we do Him a gross injustice. If we take time to examine the entire story, we will find that every incident of Yahweh’s mass discipline is always long overdue. The Old Testament is not at all the story of a mean God, but a story of a loving Creator who is continuously disdained by a people who He has heaped countless blessings upon. Instead of approaching the Bible looking for evidence of God’s cruelty, we should try looking for evidence of His grace, for then we will come away with a much more accurate assessment of its contents. Read more of this post