Judges 6-8, Psalm 72
Though I have the privilege of witnessing the miraculous hand of God in the birth of every child that I have delivered over the last 30 years, occasionally God does things which even those who have no faith can't explain away as anything less than a miracle. Last July, while on call, I had a patient who did something unexpected and often universally fatal to the child. When her water broke, one of the fetal vessels broke with it. When I saw the blood pouring out of her, two more common entities went through my mind first, which though dangerous are not fatal. Once I realized the baby's heart rate went down and stayed down, we raced to the operating room, and via cesarean section, the baby was out in 8-9 minutes from the moment the heart rate initially dropped. The baby came out white as a sheet of paper and was limp over my hand. The NICU team went to work but were shaking their heads. The baby only has around 8 ounces of blood at the time and had lost almost all of it. In the NICU(Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) they had already placed a cooling cap to preserve what little functioning brain tissue seemed to be left. The NICU physician pulled me aside and told me how dire the situation was, which I then conveyed to the parents. I went downstairs, into the physician's dressing area by myself, closed my tear filled eyes and poured out my heart for this child and its family to God in prayer. I went up 3 hours later, to find the child had pulled out its own breathing tube, was alert, the cooling cap was off, after only a couple of units of blood. Realize that this transfusion should not have had these dramatic results. I went downstairs and told the family, who thanked me profusely for what I had done. I asked them if they had faith. They said, "no". I explained to them though I got the baby out quickly, though the nursing staff acted quickly, though the NICU team had acted quickly and appropriately, that this had little to do with the change in their child. Nothing outside of a miraculous act from the hand of God could explain this. The baby left on time from the hospital with the mother. When people ask if I have witnessed a specific miracle, the answer is, "yes", this was one.
We read in Judges 7:2, "And the Lord said to Gideon, "The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, 'My own hand has saved me'." At this time there were 135,000 Midianites compared to 32,000 Israelites ready for battle. We will see through the course of Scripture, that God reduced the number of troops down to 300, so that it was obvious that the only way for victory to occur was by His Almighty Hand, and that all glory should go to Him. The battle plan made no sense, as we read in Judges 7:16, "Then he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet into every man's hand, with empty pitchers, and torches inside the pitchers." Notice there was no mention of weapons. We read of the results in 7:22, "When the three hundred blew their trumpets, the Lord set every man's sword against his companion throughout the whole camp;...". They chased the remaining army and routed them. We see afterward in Judges 8:23, that the people wanted to make Gideon rule over them, and we see his perfect response, "But Gideon said to them, "I will not rule over you; nor shall my son rule over you; the Lord shall rule over you." We will see a number of years later when we read in 1 Samuel 8, that the people eventually demand a king, thereby choosing a monarchy over God's sovereign rule. We see Gideon do something next which turned wrong. We read in Judges 8:27, "Then Gideon made it into an ephod and set it up in his city, Ophrah. And all Israel played the harlot with it there. It became a snare to Gideon and to his house." We don't know why he built the golden ephod, but it became an idol. As we saw in Judges 7:2, God knows the heart of man is often to deflect the glory away from God, and onto someone or something. This is nothing short of idolatry.
Our lives are so distracted, it is so easy to miss God in our daily lives. Whether it be social media, constant music and television, our cell phones, etc., God shows Himself continuously, but often we fail to take notice and give the glory to God. When we, as vessels, see God work through our lives, do we accept the glory or do we give it to God? God knows our tendency is to forget Him. How pleasant to see the comments by the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles openly giving glory to God for their victory. We read in Jeremiah 18:6, "O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?" says the Lord. "Look, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!" If we want to see God work mightily in our lives we must see ourselves as clay, as empty vessels to be used by God. So often, we render ourselves unusable because we are too full of ourselves. God is ready and willing to use each and every one of us, but are we prepared to be used.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: