Feb
04

The Unexpected by Randy Rowley 1/22/13 ©

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On the first Saturday in December, two friends and I went on an FCS self-guided duck hunt on Lake Granger in a small cove in the San Gabriel Wildlife Management Area.  It was overcast, so we were somewhat optimistic.

Ducks started flying almost precisely at legal shooting time – 30 minutes before sunrise.  A duck came in low over my dekes from right to left, and I nailed it with a load of Winchester Xpert 2 shot from my 12 gauge Browning Gold Hunter.  A flock of teal came in as I went to get my duck.  Tim Price and Ken Miller shot at them, which encouraged me to get back into my boat blind quickly, with my drake gadwall.  A high-flyer flew by, and Tim nailed it.  It hit the water about 35 yards behind us in the flooded 20-foot trees.  (The trees were flooded because the lake was high.)  Tim eventually found it – a hen gadwall.

Then things slowed down.  There were still many ducks in the air, and several more flew near us, but they were very high and not interested in the decoys (dekes), which looked like statues due to no wind.  Tim noticed several ducks flying down the tree line – he decided to walk further down the cove to try ambushing ducks bypassing my dekes.  I went further up the cove to try ambushing ducks heading to the main lake.  Ken stayed in my boat.

It didn’t take long for Tim to start shooting.  I hadn’t pulled my trigger since I left my boat, so I decided to join Tim.  When I got within shouting distance, Tim announced he had four ducks down he was trying to find in the dense layer of trees and bushes.

As I closed on Tim, a solo teal flew in front of me, and I nailed it.  My teal wasn’t going anywhere, so I decided to help Tim look for his ducks.  Ken also joined us.

As we helped Tim, I marveled that we were at least 200 yards from my dekes, yet we were doing better than we’d done hunting over my 74 deke spread.  The way we were hunting was more similar to ambushing dove in mesquites and oaks than duck hunting.  Although I wouldn’t call what was happening supernatural, it was amazing.

We ended the morning bagging nine ducks in the trees, killing more than four times what we bagged hunting over my dekes.  Tim shot a limit, including a mallard, gadwall, and four green-winged teal, and I bagged five, including a gadwall and four green-winged teal (I shot three teal with two shots from a flock, although one escaped in the water among the trees and bushes).  The hunt confounded conventional duck hunting wisdom, which dictated to stay with the dekes.  To succeed as we did was completely unexpected.

God doing the unexpected occurs throughout the Bible.  He delights in bending and breaking the rules of nature (he brings sight to the blind), the rules of relationships (he brings reconciliation to “irreconcilable” relationships), and much more.  He often comes through in the most unexpected ways.

Many of the unexpected events in the Bible defy logical explanation and fall into the realm of miracles.  For example, after healing a man who was born blind, Jesus declared the miracle to be “work” to his disciples.  Jesus said in John 9:4, “‘As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me.  Night is coming, when no one can work.’”  There are recounts of the blind regaining their sight in Jewish history, but there is no record of anyone who was born blind being healed.  This was a miracle of miracles, yet Jesus referred to it merely as work.  For God, it was business as usual.

Here are a few examples of unexpected/miraculous events in the Bible:

  • Sarah gave birth to Isaac, her firstborn, at age 90 or 91. (See Genesis 17:17-22 and 21:1-3.)
  • Joseph was sold into slavery by nine of his older brothers and later saved Egypt and his family several years later during a famine. (See Genesis 37:12-28 and 41:1 – 47:27.)
  • God chose Moses (a man with a speech impediment, low confidence, and low self-esteem) to deliver the Hebrews from bondage in Egypt. (See Exodus 3:1-10.)
  • God led the Hebrews to the banks of the Red Sea.  The Egyptian army arrived to take the Israelites back into bondage.  God then saved them by parting the sea, drying the land for safe footing, and drowning the pursuing Egyptian army. (See Exodus 14:1-28.)
  • A shepherd boy named David kills a 9? tall warrior named Goliath with a sling and a stone. (See 1 Samuel 17:1-50.)
  • Gideon raised an army of 30,000 men to fight the Philistines, but God whittled it down to 300.  They then defeated a Philistine army 100 times their size. (See Judges 7:1-25.)
  • The Babylonians threw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into a fiery furnace and later threw Daniel into a den of hungry lions.   None of them were harmed. (See Daniel 3:1-30 and 6:1-23.)
  • Jonah was swallowed by a great fish and then vomited alive onto shore three days later. (See Jonah 1:1 – 2:10.)
  • Elisabeth gave birth to John the Baptist in her old age. (See Luke 1:5-7, 24, and 57.)
  • Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus. (See Luke 1:26-35 and 2:4-7.)
  • Following Jesus’s directions after being skunked during a night of fishing, Peter, Andrew, James, and John caught two boatloads of fish. (See Luke 5:1-11.)
  • Jesus fed a great multitude, using a boy’s lunch. (See Matthew 14:14-21.)
  • Jesus instantly calmed a raging storm, walked on water during another raging storm, and instantly transported a boat carrying the disciples to shore. (See Mark 4:35-39, Matthew 14:22–30, and John 6:16-21.)
  • When Jesus went to see his dead friend Lazarus’s body, Jesus raised him from the dead. (See John 11:17-44.)
  • When Peter cut off Malchus’s ear during Jesus’s arrest, Jesus either reattached or regrew it. (See John 18:10 and Luke 22:50-51.)
  • When Jesus died, the temple’s curtain was torn in two. (Matthew 27:50-51.)
  • When Saul met Jesus on the road to Damascus, Jesus blinded and then radically changed him. (See Acts 9:1-20.)

It doesn’t matter which of these events, or the many others like them, you examine.  In every case, God came through — often at the very last second.  And sometimes, such as in Lazarus’s case, even after his last second.

Sometimes God waits until people have lost hope or are holding onto hope by a thread, and then he’ll save the day in totally unexpected ways.  Afterward, the person exuberantly praises God but at the same time asks themselves, “Why didn’t I trust him more?”

Sometimes people ask why God doesn’t do the unexpected more frequently.  Sometimes God doesn’t do the unexpected because we rely on our strength and abilities to fix our problems.  We look at our strength and abilities for the confidence we need to serve and live for God.  Instead, God wants us to place our trust in him.  God doesn’t tolerate playing second fiddle.  Exodus 20:5a says, “‘You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God.’”  When we realize God wants us to surrender completely to him, put our confidence in him, and act on it, he’ll intervene – often in an unexpected way and at a time when all will know the intervention could only have come from him.

Sometimes God doesn’t do the unexpected because of our doubts and fears.  Those doubts and fears keep us from completely trusting in him.  We must remove them.  James 1:5 says, “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”  Only a faith-filled heart expects God to do the unexpected.  A problem for many Christians is we believe miracles can happen to other believers, but not to us.

Sometimes God doesn’t do the unexpected because we expect him to intervene while we’re living in sin.  If we don’t accompany our expectation of God to do the unexpected by a willingness to obey him, such ‘faith’ is better termed ‘presumption.’  The man whose retirement plan is to win the lottery and believes God will answer his prayer, the drunkard who believes God will protect him while driving intoxicated, or the woman who believes God will protect her while having unprotected sex with multiple men are not displaying Biblical faith.  If the unexpected happens to such people, it’s a mere coincidence and not God’s intervention.

Many of the miraculous events previously mentioned occurred because a man or woman believed, obeyed God, and acted on their belief.  Their belief, obedience, and initiative resulted in God doing the unexpected.  Would Moses have been able to part the Red Sea if he had not taken the Israelites to its banks?  Would David have killed Goliath if he had not picked up a stone?  Before he intervenes, God expects us to take the exam, finish the course, apply for the job, complete the report, make the presentation, apologize to the person we offended, share redemption of sin through Christ with the lost, etc.

What kind of people would we be if we believed God loves to do the unexpected and might do it at any moment?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 12-08-12_Tim_and_Randy-225x300.jpg

Tim and Randy

Categories : Devotionals

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