Hebrews 11 - Miracles...and Mercy

Good morning.

Today we are going to consider miracles and God's mercy.

[Slide]

29 By faith the people passed through the Red Sea on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.

30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days.

31 By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.


Faith is confidence in what you cannot see.
Commitment to God even when it seems to make no sense.
Embracing struggle and even failure as part of God's purpose in your life....

Faith does not always = Success.

But today I want to speak about Miracles...and Mercy.

I am not going to ask for a show of hands...
but I know that some of you have experienced at least one miracle in your life.

Can I believe: The parting of the Red Sea....
The walls of Jericho collasping from the inside out.

Well, yes!
I believe Jesus was born of a virgin.
THAT is certainly a miracle.

"How can you really believe in such things?"

I have seen some amazing miracles.
As a young man I would recount 2-3 miracles I had experienced while I shared the gospel with a non-believer...

Often I would get the response,
"That was just a coincidence."

My response?
"After a certain number of convenient coincidences....
you begin to realize that there is something bigger going on.

Miracles are part of that BIGGER."

Once you accept the reality of God...
and that He really does interact with us,
It's just a lot easier to accept and acknowledge miracles.

Part of the walk of Faith...is seeing God bend the laws of nature...
when you are willing to place yourself in situations that do not make sense...

You are in the place where miracles can happen.

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PRAYER
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[6 min]
My Christian life started with an answered prayer...on like Day 4
...that just blew my mind.

The young man who led me to Christ used that moment as an opportunity to teach me about God's concern for every detail in my life.

After a while answered prayer stops feeling like a miracle... and...just...feels....normal.

I remember the first healing I ever experienced...
It was amazing.

Miracles don't happen all the time...that is why we call them miracles.

I remember seeing miracles on the mission field and just walking around in a daze...

How?....WHAT?!?!

It was exciting...but also mind-numbing.

Then one day I was sitting with two young men from South Africa...in their mid-20's...

Now, I am a 18yr old fairly new Christian.
These guys were like heroes to me.

They had been on mission outreaches where the miracles were a daily thing...and they were frustrated.

These guys were kind of complaining..."Why aren't we seeing more miracles?"

Why doesn't God work miracles ALL the time?

Well...in our story...
Moses leads the Israelites out of Egypt...

The Israelites are traveling through the desert...
that doesn't seem like a good idea...
but God led Moses to take them through the desert.

They needed water....God provided.

They complained because they had no bread...
God gave them manna.

They complained about only eating manna...
God gave them quail.

Then we have this interesting passage where we see that Moses is meeting every day....all day hearing and acting as the judge to hear the people with disputes.

So he appoints judges to hear disputes...so he does not have to do it every day...all day.

So the Israelites are basically living from one miracle to the next...

But they need judges to hear their disputes every day!

You see, we think a miracle is going to solve our problems.

We wonder, "Why doesn't God give us miracles all the time?"

Because then we become spoiled brats.

[Slide]
We would lose our "Endurance: the ability to recover from wounds and trauma so we can keep fighting."

The Israelites had to continue to fight in order to take the land God had promised to Abraham.

You might think He would just give it to them...
But they had to work for it.

Think about it...
God told Abraham his descendents would be the stars in the sky...
But He did not tell Abraham it would take 400 years in Egypt...
and they would have to be slaves.

God told Abraham all the land he saw would belong to his descendents.
But He did not tell him they would have to fight...and die to gain it.

Walls of Jericho
- Rahab hides the spies - 1 miracle
- the walls collasped - 2 miracles
- Rahab and family are spared death - 3 miracles
- the very next town Israel invades defeats them!

Should we be thankful for God's miracles? YES.
Should we pray and ask God for miracles? YES.

I think we should share our miracle stories...some of us get the feeling that our story is not as good as the next...

But it's OUR story.

I stopped telling my stories years ago because I was in groups where others would tell stories that just seemed embellished.

You know the fish I caught kept getting bigger with each telling of the story.

I do not think God is honored by that.

I also began to feel like my stories were making my head get big.

So I stopped telling my stories.

There is a balance...and we should find it.

We should tell of how God has met our needs.

Several years ago in our small group we shared stories of God's miracles...answered prayers, etc.

It encouraged my faith to hear others tell their stories.

Miracles...answered prayers..."conincidence" is part of our walk of faith....

I am going to tell one of my stories...
I selected one that...for me is amazing...
But hopefully it's not SO BIG that others would shug it off easily as me exaggerating...

This is just an example of God operating in our world...
breaking in-between the lines of the laws of nature
and cause and effect.

It happens that some of you will recognize this a bit...

I was a freshman going to UCLA...
The University of Cowarts in Lower Alabama...
otherwise known as Wallace Community College in Dothan.
Wally High.

Everyday...going home there would be a really long, single file line of cars at the light to get on 231 North of Dothan...heading back south.

In 1977 that was the only road leading to 231...Napier Field Road.

I would listen to Rez Band...classic Christian rock on the way home each day....really loud.

On this day I was sitting at the light...one car ahead of me.
I had already been through two cycles of the light...
so I was ready to get home.

My music is blaring...just as the light turns green I hear what to me is the voice of the Lord in my head...

"DON'T MOVE!"

I just froze. I had been ready to go man!
But I just froze...as I watched the car ahead of me go.

Just then I look to my left and two 18 Wheelers are screaming through the light...like they were racing.

As they go by I cannot see the light until they pass...
And my light is now red.

If I had not obeyed the voice in my head...
I think I would have made it through...

But if the person behind me had not been paying attention, they would have been killed.

You can call that coincidence.
You can call it intuition.
I call it a miracle.

This is part of how God wants to show up in your midst.

Ask for God to show up in your life.
Then tell others your story.

We have the miracle of Rahab...the prostitute.
but it doesn't end there.

Because Rahab hid the spies...she and her family were all saved.
This is the picture of God's mercy...following a miracle.

But the mercy goes deeper.
We are told in Matthew's gospel that Rahab is in the lineage of Jesus.

Yes...a prostitute is an ancestor of Jesus, the Son of God.

Is it any wonder that Jesus was so merciful to Mary Magdalene...and to other prostitutes?

Jesus was called the friend of sinners.
Makes sense...
He had a prostitute and a murderer in his ancestry.

God is a God of miracles....
...and a God of great mercy.

Ask God to move in your life.
And when He does....

Share your story.

Let's PRAY.

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Troy Community Church
Christian Fellowship
1300 Henderson Highway
Troy, AL 36079