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When God speaks
September 5, 2011
by Dr. Tom Rakow, pastor, Grace Bible Church, Silver Lake

The Lord knows how to get our attention. Down through the centuries, the Lord has used some ordinary things in unusual ways in order to reveal His presence and power.

One such example is Abraham, a great man of faith who believed God for the impossible. He waited 25 years for his son, Isaac to be born. But then, some time later, God tested him to see if he was willing to offer up his son, Isaac as a sacrifice. Abraham passed the test – and the Lord sent His angel to stop Abraham from killing his son. The Lord then provided a ram to be sacrificed in Isaac’s place. The Bible tells us, “Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son” (Genesis 22:13).

I wonder if Abraham (who had spent decades as a herdsman) had ever seen a ram caught by its horns? What do you think the odds are of a ram being caught by its horns in this particular place, at this particular time? Abraham was so impressed that he named the place, “The Lord Will Provide” (Genesis 22:14).

Then there was Moses, who had spent 40 years herding his father-in-law’s sheep. For at least 40 years, Moses had looked at bushes. However, the Bible tells us that one day while Moses was on the backside of a desert, he noticed a bush that was on fire – but was not burnt up. Moses went to check this strange sight out.

The Bible tells us, “When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, ‘Moses! Moses!’ And Moses said, ‘Here I am’” (Exodus 3:4). The Lord can even use a bush in the desert to reveal His presence. God used a bush to get Moses’ attention.

Later when Moses stood before the leader of Egypt and announced the plague of the firstborn – the Lord chose to reveal a glimpse of His power through dogs. Now, to the Egyptians, dogs were extremely important. A recent archeological find has uncovered a place where there is an estimated eight million mummified dogs! Furthermore, one of the gods of ancient Egypt was a jackal-headed god of the dead named Anubis.

Besides the death of the firstborn, Moses went on to proclaim, “There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt – worse than there has ever been or ever will be again.” (Exodus 11:6). He then stated, “But among the Israelites not a dog will bark at any man or animal. Then you will know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel.” (Exodus 11:7).

At a time when it would seem every dog in Egypt would be howling in response to the loud wailing in Egypt, the Lord was in control of these Hebrew canines. The Lord spoke loudly through silent dogs to reveal His power.

In the New Testament, Jesus spoke to a fisherman named Peter through some tremendous catches of fish (see Luke 5 and John 21). However, on one occasion, Jesus used a single fish with a coin in its mouth to convey a priceless lesson regarding His unlimited ability to provide.

In Matthew 17, we learn that Peter was concerned about the temple tax. Jesus knew Peter’s concern and therefore instructed him, “. . . go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.” (Matthew 17:27).

Have you ever caught a fish with a coin in its mouth? I doubt if this had ever happened to Peter either. Nevertheless, the Lord knew which fish (the first one he would catch) and the type of coin the fish would be carrying. The Lord knew how to get a fisherman’s attention.

How about you? What would the Lord need to do to get your attention? He can still speak in unique ways today. Nevertheless, according to the Bible, “. . . in these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.” (Hebrews 1:2).

When God speaks, we should listen.