Think for a moment of that glorious hour when Israel stood safely on the other side of the Red Sea. Thousands of God’s people lined the shore, watching as a miraculous scene unfolded. The swift waters of the sea had collapsed over Pharaoh’s great army!
What an incredible scene it must have been — the sights and sounds awesome to behold. Horses bellowed, soldiers screamed, chariot wheels spun off in all directions, men bobbed up for air and then disappeared beneath the flood tide.
Every follower of Jesus has a certain hunger in his heart. It’s a passionate zeal to be holy before God — free from sin, victorious over flesh, pure and spotless before the Lord.
This desire is actually something the Holy Spirit plants in the heart of every human being. It’s an innate longing to live rightly. People of every religion — and even no religion — are moved to live well, do right, love others, be the best person they can be. Some obviously flee that desire and do the opposite — but they’re still conscious of a deep desire to do right.
How different would your life be if you were walking in divine favor? Does God give favor, bless abundantly and lavish his grace on hungry, awaiting hearts? The answer is yes — and we find this illustrated in Luke 1, the story of Christ’s birth.
Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables: “All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 13:34-35, my italics).
Nehemiah is known as the man who led the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls. Israel was in captivity when God first stirred Nehemiah’s heart toward this noble work. And when Nehemiah asked the Persian king to let him return to Jerusalem for this purpose, God moved the king’s heart to grant his request.
Daniel testified, “Behold, a hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands” (Daniel 10:10). The word for “touched” here means to “violently seize upon.” Daniel was saying, in essence, “When God placed his hand on me, it put me on my face. His touch gave me an urgency to pray, to seek him with all that’s in me.”
"Gideon came to the Jordan and crossed over, he and the 300 men who were with him, exhausted yet pursuing” (Judges 8:4, my emphasis).
Gideon’s life is a perfect example of how God creates impossible circumstances for his servants in order to demonstrate his glory. The Lord called this shy man to lead Israel into battle against an overwhelming enemy: 100,000 Midianites, compared to Israel’s army of 22,000.
As I write this, the whole world is frightened, perplexed and confused. Even the most devoted Christians are wondering about all the fast-moving events as they rapidly unfold. Are these things prophetic?
I hear from believers everywhere who ask a question I myself am wondering: “Are we in the very last years of human history?” I do not know — any thoughts on that subject are mere speculation. But one thing is sure: We have seen an acceleration of world events as never before.
When Israel had crossed the Red Sea they sang God's praises for his mighty deliverance. Think of the amazing miracle they had just experienced. Giant waves of water parted for them but swallowed their powerful enemy. As they beheld what happened they could only marvel. They must have said to each other:
Every year during the busy holidays, Christians remind themselves of the real significance of Christmas: the coming of Jesus. Our hearts are filled with gratitude that God the Father sent a Savior to redeem us. And celebrating Christ's birth is a sweet and pleasant time, filled with blessings of all kinds. We love seeing colorful presents around the tree in our living room. We enjoy singing carols and hymns, thanking God for his many blessings. Some of us even enjoy "A Charlie Brown Christmas," with Linus quoting from Luke 2 at the end.