Ours isn't the first age, the first culture needing to see the mighty hand of God working through His people.
All through the ages, the enemy tried to destroy the plan, works and people of God, and there was always a brave servant of God ready to stand for truth and righteousness.
It's no different today.
I think of the Israelites in Egypt, led out by the obedient servant of God, Moses (Exodus 4:23; 9:1). Then there was Queen Esther, who stood in courage to save her people from destruction (Esther 4:16). There were martyrs who suffered and died, staying true to Jehovah God and His Son throughout the Old and New Testaments (Hebrews 11).
A scripture verse that has captured my heart in these days when I am grieving over our national sin, sin in the church and sin in our families is Daniel 11:32b:
"the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action." (ESV)Other versions say, "do exploits." I like that word. It speaks of an adventure with God!
In the context of this chapter, Daniel saw the succession of kings in two empires, embattled Persia and Greece. God's people were affected by these nations and their fighting, and yet God expected the Children of Israel to stand strong against the ungodliness of their day, not to run and hide. One of the kings in Daniel 11 stood in direct opposition to God, speaking high and mighty things "against the God of Gods," much like the New Atheists in our culture.
Yet nestled in the midst of this chapter is the powerful scripture highlighted above, a passage that assures us knowing God is the key to courageous actions that make a difference in taking a stand in a society that is increasingly "spiritual" but not knowing the God of the Bible or actively resisting Him.
Our "knowing" is not merely trusting God for salvation, but the kind of knowledge that makes us courageous with strong apologetics and the well-reasoned, rational thinking* that allows us to intersect with our culture. [*I highly recommend the book Thinking Christianly by Jonathan Morrow, Zondervan, 2012.]
Our heavenly Father wants His children to see and understand Him, to "perceive" Him. God wants us to know that none of the wickedness in our culture takes Him by surprise, and to know and understanding who He is. We can do nothing in and of ourselves to change our culture, but we can be strong in our mighty God's power. We can do exploits - strong actions that arise out of our relationship with Him. Our strength comes as we rest in His truth, the light for our journey in this dark, sinful world.
This is Old Testament truth. Moses prayed for God to reveal Himself and His ways, not only for Himself, but for his nation (Exodus 33:13).
But it's New Testament truth too, because, for the Christian there is additional understanding. Jesus, the Son of God, is the channel of God's power in our lives. We come to the Father "in the name of Jesus" (Matthew 21:22; John 14:13-14; 16:24) - and that is no wimpy name! In Jesus' name, things change. He heals, He transforms, He frees and He rules. He speaks with authority (Mark 1:27; Luke 4:32) .
Why would we not expect Him to do mighty works in and through us?Paul spoke often about knowing God and His Son, such as in Philippians 3:10. In Ephesians 1:17-19, he prayed for the church, "that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.... and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe...."
See it? Knowledge of God is connected to experience of His mighty power.
We must know God - His Word, will and ways - and in that knowing we will discover His marching orders to effect change.If we want more power in God, we must crave to know Him more - not for the power, but for His presence. We need to know more than we read about Him in books; we need to know Him by experience, to see Him as He is and understand His will. We need to know we can trust Him. This knowledge comes from the Spirit of wisdom and revelation (v. 17).
As we better know the Lord through beholding Him in His Word, the most powerful change will be God's transformation of our hearts. And then He will empower us to do His work.
Perhaps one of the reasons so few of us are doing "exploits" is that we are more concerned with other things - even with serving God - than knowing Him in His majesty and power.
How do we "do exploits" for God in our country?
(1) Know your God. (2) Get your marching orders. (3) Trust God. (4) Go be brave!
Where have you experienced God's power as you grew to know Him more?