01/24/F – Signs and Wonders

Genesis 26:17-35; Matthew 9:1-8; Psalms 10:17-18; Proverbs 4:20-27

OT: “From there he went up to Beer-sheba, and the Lord appeared to him that night and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your offspring because of my servant Abraham.” So he built an altar there, called on the name of the Lord, and pitched his tent there. Isaac’s servants also dug a well there. Now Abimelech came to him from Gerar with Ahuzzath his adviser and Phicol the commander of his army. Isaac said to them, “Why have you come to me? You hated me and sent me away from you.” They replied, “We have clearly seen how the Lord has been with you. We think there should be an oath between two parties — between us and you. Let us make a covenant with you: You will not harm us, just as we have not harmed you but have done only what was good to you, sending you away in peace. You are now blessed by the Lord.” …On that same day Isaac’s servants came to tell him about the well they had dug, saying to him, “We have found water!”” (‭‭Genesis‬ ‭26:23-29, 32‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

Each time God gives Isaac instructions or when Isaac runs into challenges in following God’s instructions, God reaffirms His commitment to Isaac. But God doesn’t just reaffirm His commitment verbally – He actually follows through. He blesses Isaac and makes his life a sign and a wonder to the pagan people around him. So, not only is Isaac convinced of God’s faithfulness – but Isaac becomes a sign that glorifies God and causes those around him to stand in wonder at God’s greatness and faithfulness. Over the years, I have seen this happen in my life: whenever I am faithful to walk out what God has called me to walk out, even though there are challenges along the way, God is faithful to His word and His work in me and through me becomes a wonder to others.

NT: “Just then some men brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. Seeing their faith, Jesus told the paralytic, “Have courage, son, your sins are forgiven.” At this, some of the scribes said to themselves, “He’s blaspheming!” Perceiving their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why are you thinking evil things in your hearts? For which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” — then he told the paralytic, “Get up, take your stretcher, and go home.” So he got up and went home. When the crowds saw this, they were awestruck and gave glory to God, who had given such authority to men.” (‭‭Matthew‬ ‭9:2-8‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

Jesus made an unbelievable claim – so unbelievable that the religious leaders accused Him of blasphemy because in His statement, He was actually claiming to be equal with God. In Jesus’ time, maladies like blindness or paralysis were thought to be caused by sin. If someone was paralyzed, it was because they had sin in their life. So Jesus didn’t just end with His claim to be able to forgive sin – He proved His authority by healing the paralytic. Jesus performed a sign that caused everyone to wonder – and then through Jesus’ healing work the once paralytic became an ongoing sign to cause people to wonder. All who have been born again into Christ’s life, made new creations, and continuously live by Christ’s life in us should be ongoing signs that cause people around us to wonder at the greatness of God.

Proverbs: “My son, pay attention to my words; listen closely to my sayings. Don’t lose sight of them; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and health to one’s whole body. Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life… Carefully consider the path for your feet, and all your ways will be established.” (‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭4:20-23, 26‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

I saw something in this passage that I haven’t seen before. Most people, when they reference this passage, quote only verse 23 about guarding your heart. But if you read that in context, Solomon first says to pay attention to the Father’s words, listen closely to them, and keep them in your heart… Then he says to guard the heart that is full of the Father’s words. When we fail to guard God’s words and God’s ways and allow our hearts to be lifted up, going after things that we shouldn’t go after or involving ourselves in things we shouldn’t involve ourselves in – that leads to trouble. Yet, if we guard our heart and do only what the Father is leading us to do, receiving only what the Father gives us, committing to only what the Father has for us – then we will be established and our lives will become a sign that causes others to stand in awe and wonder of the good, great, and faithful God that we serve.

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