Sunday, April 20, 2008

The One Who Works Wonders

So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering, and offered it on the rock to the LORD, to the one who works wonders, and Manoah and his wife were watching.
Judges 13:19
When Manoah's wife comes to him to tell him that an angel of the LORD appeared to her and informed her that she would give birth to a son (Samson) that would be set apart for God, Manoah prays to God to send this angel once again. When the LORD grants Manoah's request, the angel returns and repeats the things he had previously said, now in the presence of both Manoah and his wife. Manoah, seemingly as an act of honor, wants to prepare a goat for this man of God. The angel kindly tells him that he would not eat it if he did prepare it. Instead he ought to prepare and offer a burnt offering to the LORD. So Manoah does as the angels says. He prepares a young goat with a grain offering and then after lighting the fire ... he waits. He and his wife wait. They've made all the preparations, they've set the burnt offering on the rock, and then they stand back and watch. What are they watching for? For the One who works wonders.

I can just picture Manoah and his wife standing there watching and waiting, the gaze of their eyes constantly alternating between the rock and the sky as they expectantly wait for the One who works wonders.
And when the flame went up toward heaven from the altar, the angel of the LORD went up in the flame of the altar. Now Manoah and his wife were watching, and they fell on their faces to the ground.
Judges 13:20
He's done it again. And all they can do is bow with their faces down before the awesome majesty of the One who works wonders.

As I read through this story, I kept coming back to the phrase "the one who works wonders." Why did the inspired writer choose to add this modifier to describe the LORD? He could have left it out without in any way altering the story. But this is the way he chooses to describe the LORD. Is this the way that I choose to describe the LORD in the day in and day out grind of everyday life? When I wake up each morning, is my heart marked by an expectancy that eagerly desires to watch for the new wonders that God will work today ... in me ... in those around me? If I'm honest with myself, my answer to these questions is no.

I'm glad the same wasn't true of Jesus. As five thousand hungry people stood before him and having only five loaves and two fish to feed them with, what did the Son of God do?
And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all.
Mark 7:41
He took this small offering and, looking up to His Father, offered it to Him. Then Mark tells us that he said a blessing. I wonder what words came out of Jesus' mouth. You alone are the One who works wonders, Father. Glorify your name.
And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.
Mark 7:42, 43
The fire fell, as it were, and the One who works wonders had done it again.

And the wonder of wonders of this story is that the One who looked to the One who works wonders was Himself the One who works wonders! He is the One who divided the two fish among them all. And those who were closest to Him had to have known that they were in the presence of the One who works wonders.

And so are we. The same God who calls us "friend," talking with us in the morning when we rise, and walking with us through all the ins and outs of mundane every day life is the One who works wonders. Oh, may God grant that we would not lose sight of His infinite transcendence as we enjoy His infinite condescension! That the two of these would be true at the same time, in itself, should be enough to cause us to marvel continually at the One who works wonders.

But the greatest wonder of all that God could work is to fold depraved sinners such as us into the overflowing fullness of the fellowship of the Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, executing the plan of salvation by putting forward His Son as a propitiation for our sins in order that He might be both just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus and qualify us for such a glorious inheritance that we deserve no part in. What greater wonder has God worked than to remove hearts of stone from those who hate Him from birth, replacing them with hearts of flesh so that we would love Him for all eternity?

This work of wonder in the gospel that we behold in ourselves and in the lives of those around us is the very work of wonder that angels long to watch but are not granted the privilege to (1 Peter 1:12). In light of this, what should be our response?
Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!
Psalm 105:2
And then watch and wait expectantly for the wonders, especially of this great salvation, that He has yet to work!

1 comment: said...

Great post, Chris! Convicting and encouraging at the same time.

What a wonderful God we serve!