I love the miracle stories of the Bible. They are exciting and inspiring.
It is fun to tell my children about how great God is. The picture Bibles always help me illustrate the highlights of the journeys of Israel, the parting of the sea, the food from the sky, the water from the rock. I love to see their eyes light up as they hear how God can change our natural world any way He wants.
There is one thing many of those children’s Bibles don’t emphasize though. It isn’t fun. It isn’t inspiring. And you don’t want to see the pictures.
I also love the miracle stories of my life. Healings God gave my family. Transformations He has done in me. Prayers He answered that were impossible. I live in hope of what He will do next.
If I’m careless, however, I make the same mistake as the picture Bibles. I fixate on the goodness of God and forget His severity.
After telling about the power and wonder of God leading His people under the cloud and through the sea, look what else the apostolic historian recounted in I Corinthians 10:5
“But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.” (NKJV)
Uh, these were the ones who He did all those things for. Epic miracles like walls of water and miracle food and drink! And He then slaughtered them all until there were piles of bloating corpses in the wilderness.
Not the picture Bible I want to see.
Not the picture I want to live.
But I could end up there.
If God reduced the thousands of people who saw those miracles down to just two survivors, I had better pay attention.
So, the question begging in the back of our minds is, “Why?”
I’m glad your mind asked that.
He executed them because they craved evil things.
He thinned them out because they gave their attention and affection to idols which replaced the focus they once had on Him.
He killed them because they lived to indulge themselves with food, drink, and fleshly pleasures that took them out of the bounds of God’s purity.
He slaughtered over 23,000 of them in one day because they engaged in sexual activity outside of God’s design (marriage).
He sent serpents to bite those who tempted our King and provoked Him to act.
He commissioned the destroyer to take out the complainers.
Don’t say you haven’t complained.
These stories are recorded for us to see both the shock and awe of God’s power and the anguish and awfulness of burning His kindness to us. (See I Corinthians 10:1-11.)
Are you playing too loose?
It is not uncommon for people who have seen the greatest miracles in history to lose sight of what is important. We know better. We have their story as a warning to us.
God could heal you of cancer and send you to hellfire.
You could cast out devils and raise the dead and your life fall as a harvest to the devil’s sickle.
Will you finish strong? Will you keep your focus and attention on the One who saved you?
Will you run from sexual sin and that temptation to complain about your preacher?
Love the Lord with all your heart. We will end up as worse than bloated carcasses if we let something else replace Him in our lives.
You needed Him for your breakthrough. You rejoiced in Him in your deliverance. And you better hold onto Him if you want to make it to the Promised Land.