Tonight’s service looking at ‘The Miraculous & The Mundane’ focussed on the life of Abraham, whose miracle son, Isaac, reminds us that God is a God of the impossible! Abraham’s story is told in Genesis 12-25 and his importance to God’s people is highlighted in the New Testament (see Romans, Hebrews and Galatians in particular.) We see how God initiates the conversation, calling Abraham to set out on a journey of faith (see Gen 12:1-3), and how these conversations become ‘pivotal point incidents’ in his life. Each time God’s promise to him is expanded and clarified, it is because God speaks with Abraham. From the general promise of blessing comes the specific promise to give Abraham a son and heir (Gen 15:4-5). From the conversation requesting confirmation that Abraham will take possession of this land comes a new covenant enacted by God when God speaks prophetically into his life about the future of His people (Gen 15:8-21) God speaks with Abraham on numerous occasions, confirming His promise, enlarging upon it and giving further clarification (Gen 17:1-22). He speaks with him revealing his plans for Sodom (Gen 18:16-33) and thus Lot and his family are spared when Abraham learns to plead with God for their rescue. He speaks about the problems Abraham and Sarah face because of their refusal to wait and the birth of Ishmael. (Gen 21:12-13) He tests Abraham by asking him to give up the promised son, Isaac, and from this conversation comes the revelation that God is our provider, Jehovah Jireh. (Gen 22:1-14) Every time we see Abraham growing and developing in faith, it’s because God has spoken to him. The mistakes he makes are when he comes up with his own ideas and fails to talk with God or listen to Him!
God speaking to us is the miracle which leads to the miraculous in our everyday lives. His words, the same words which spoke the world into being (Ps 33:6, 9), are words which have power to change us. Jesus is the Word who speaks to us as a Good Shepherd (John 1, John 10). ‘In these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.’ (Heb 1:2) When God speaks to us, we can never be the same.
At the same time, though, the Biblical narrative spans 100 years, and not all of this is miraculous. God speaking to us is the catalyst for change, but there was much that was ordinary (dealing with business and livestock, as Gen 13:2 indicates) and there were long periods when apparently not much was happening. Even when we have heard God speaking to us, that doesn’t eliminate the need for faithfulness, perseverance, hard work and – dare I say it? – monotony. There were times when Abraham got things wrong (lying about Sarah or agreeing to have a son by Hagar), and this probably came about because of those long periods when God seemed to be doing nothing. Waiting (‘a willingness to let God do it his way and in his time’, as Eugene Peterson puts it) is not easy because it seems so mundane and boring, but we are called to wait for the Lord (Ps 27:14). When we learn to do this well, God’s miracles will come in His way and in His time.