July 8, 2016 9:54 am Comments Off on Unique Divine Interventions
Only the Israelites worshiped the one true God while other nations worshiped gods which were really not gods at all but idols made by human hands. Sometimes, foreign kings would try to treat the God of Israel contemptuously as if he was just like any other false gods that other nations worshiped. When such a thing happened, God would supernaturally intervene and demonstrate to the arrogant foreign kings that he was the only true God and besides him there was no other God.
The first incident recorded in the Bible involved the Assyrian King Sennacherib who ridiculed King Hezekiah of Judah for thinking that his God would save his country from being conquered by the Assyrians. The king of Assyria boasted of how he and his predecessors had conquered all the surrounding countries while the gods of those nations were not able to rescues their people from the Assyrians. The king of Assyria added that if the gods of those nations were not able to rescue their own people, how could the God of Hezekiah rescue him from the hands of the Assyrians? (2 Kings 18:32-35).
Hezekiah was one of the few kings of Judah who was devoted to his God with all his heart. But it was not his goodness, worthiness or prayers that made God intervene. Hezekiah did not deny that the Assyrians had conquered many nations and laid their lands waste. He also acknowledged that the gods of those nations were unable to help their people simply because they were idols fashioned by men out of wood and stone. Hezekiah prayed that God would intervene and deliver them from the hands of the Assyrians, not because they deserved it, but to let all the nations of the earth know that their God was the only true God (2 Kings 19:17-19).
The king of Assyria had indirectly challenged the God of Israel and that was why God acted to show him that he was not like those false gods of other nations. If God had not acted, then that would have validated the King of Assyria’s claim that he was just like the other false Gods of the other nations. God’s name was at stake and he had to redeem it to show the Assyrians and all the other nations that he alone is God and besides him there is no other God.
That night, God sent just one angel into the Assyrian camp outside Jerusalem and he killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. When the remaining Assyrians woke up on the following morning, they were confronted by the dead bodies of their countrymen. Sennacherib broke camp and returned to his country without conquering Judah. God had demonstrated to him and the world that he alone is God and he was not like the false idols of the other nations. Sennacherib had boasted that God could not save Judah but God did.
The other incident occurred about 200 years later. This time it was not in the land of Israel but in the land of the Babylonians. By then, the Babylonians had captured and destroyed the kingdom of Judah and taken many of the people into exile in Babylon. Among the captives were three young men who rose up in the ranks to serve Nebuchadnezzar the Babylonian king. They were Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.
Nebuchadnezzar was a pagan king and he made an image of gold 90 feet high and 9 feet wide and ordered everyone in his kingdom to worship it at set times. Anyone who refused to worship it would be thrown into a blazing furnace (Daniel 3:1-6). But Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who worshiped the God of Israel, would not bow down to the king’s idol.
The three young men were reported to the king who summoned them to appear before him. The king gave them one more last chance to worship his idol but they refused. The king was very furious and he arrogantly declared that there was no god that could save them from the blazing furnace (Daniel 3:15).
The three young men told the king that they could only worship their God who was also able to rescue them from the burning furnace. They added that even if their God did not rescue them from the burning furnace, they still would not bow down to his idol. The king ordered the furnace to be heated 7 times hotter than usual. Then the three young men were tied and thrown into the blazing furnace. (Daniel 3:16-23).
To the surprise of the king and those with him, when they looked into the blazing furnace, instead of seeing the three young men burning in the furnace, the saw them unbound, unharmed and walking around in the fire. There was also a fourth man in the furnace with them who looked “like a son of the gods (Daniel 3:25). The king shouted, “Servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” (Daniel 3:26).
When they came out of the blazing furnace, the king and those with him saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, their hair was not singed, and their robes were not scorched. There was also no smell of fire on them (Daniel 3:27).
Why did God rescue the three young men? It was not because they were pious and they refused to worship the king’s idol. Once again, the king of Babylon had indirectly challenged the only true God of all the earth by declaring that there was no god that could save the three young men. God had to act to show him that he was not like the false gods of other nations.
If God had not acted, that would have validated King Nebuchadnezzar’s assertion that even the God whom the three young men served could not rescue them from the king’s hands. That would have reduced the God of Israel to the same level with the false gods of the other nations. God’s name was at stake and he had to redeem it to show the king and everyone else that he alone is God and besides him there is no other God.
Example Outside the Bible
On a Wednesday evening in December 1971, the pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, was teaching his congregation about the biblical position on demons. As he was teaching, a man walked in with a loaded gun in his hand. He walked up the aisle and he roared like a lion. The congregation thought it was an illustrated sermon because the pastor talked about the demons coming out of people with a loud roar.
But when the man started cursing and using foul language, the congregation realized that it was not an illustrated sermon. The man walked to the front of the church and stood about 8 feet away in front of the pastor. He shouted that he was going to kill the pastor in front of his congregation to demonstrate that Satan has more power than Jesus Christ.
The pastor held up his Bible and told the man that it was the Word of God and it said that no weapon formed against him shall prosper. The man demanded that the pastor go down on his knees and beg for his life. The pastor replied he would not do such a thing as he was the one in authority in that church.
This made the man very angry and he fired 6 times at the pastor at close range. As the man ran down the aisle to get out of the church, a young man intercepted him and knocked him down. The police came and arrested him.
The police took the man to the Rusk Hospital which catered for the criminally insane people. But the man was released from the hospital 90 days later. When he got home, the man hanged himself from a tree in his backyard and he died.
But what is amazing is that none of those 6 bullets he fired at close range hit the pastor. Every one of those shots he had fired had missed the pastor. They all hit the wall behind the pastor. Three bullets had hit the wall to the left of where the pastor had been standing and the other three bullets had hit the wall to the right of where the pastor had been standing. God supernaturally protected the pastor.
The question is why did God protect the pastor? Was it because he was a pastor and he stood on the Word of God that no weapon formed against him would prosper? What we need to remember here is that the name of Jesus Christ was at stake because the man had said that he was going to kill the pastor in order to demonstrate that Satan has more power than Jesus Christ.
Once again, the man had indirectly challenged God by declaring that he was going to kill the pastor in front of his congregation in order to demonstrate that Satan has more power than Jesus Christ. If God had not intervened and protected the pastor, that would have validated the man’s claims that Satan has more power than Jesus Christ. God’s name was at stake and he intervened and protected the pastor to demonstrate to all that Jesus Christ is God and he has got more power than Satan.
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