If you’ve ever been in a severe thunderstorm you know how loud the claps of thunder can be…especially if a flash of lightning strikes very close by. This verse likens that deafening crash with the voice of God and His display of power…doing things far beyond the boundaries of human comprehension. This greatness of God that is too wonderful for us to understand is best summed up in Job 11:7-9 when they ask, “Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?” The answer is no…God’s power is outside the reach of our minds.
There was no denying it…all the people knew this beggar well. For he had been crippled from birth and for over forty years had been daily carried just outside the Temple gate to beg. But what was so shocking now was that they saw him leaping and running and giving God glory! He was the same man they had seen day after day…but now he was healed! Even the Rulers, Elders, and Teachers of the Law couldn’t refuse to believe that a miracle had happened…for it was kinda hard to do as the healed man stood there in front of them!
Peter sent the mourners and doubters out of the room much like Jesus did when He brought the dead little girl back to life in Matthew 9:25. Both didn’t allow negativity and unbelief to remain in the room. Nor did either permit skepticism and scoffing to change their confidence in what God could do. So what can we take from this when praying for someone seriously ill? First is to get rid of all distractions and those who can’t believe for a miracle. Instead, gather around those who have faith for a healing, (remember, it can be as small as a mustard seed). Next speak life and not death into the person and ask God to heal them. Finally, continue to speak life into the person and watch God work.
God is far beyond any boundaries of our minds, knowledge or expectations. As Job 5:9 tells us, “He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.” We’d have to then agree with Genesis 18:14 when it asks, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” The simple answer is, No…there’s nothing that’s impossible for God. For there’s not one thing He can’t do, change, fix, or accomplish according to His Will.
So what exactly were the apostles doing that would land them in jail? It tells us that they were performing many miraculous signs and wonders…healing the sick and tormented…and that many were coming to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. They were doing good stuff, but they were also persecuted for it. Contention within the Body can degenerate into negative emotions that desire to make war against the good they see others doing…simply because it’s not them performing it. They feel threatened, so they attempt to discount and belittle rather than praising God for what He’s doing. Doing good regardless…it tells us in I Peter 3:17 that we may have to suffer in doing good…and that we shouldn’t become weary in doing it. (Galatians 6:9) I pray we all may have the boldness to continue doing good no matter the cost.
In the Hebrew, this sentence is only 5 words long. It doesn’t even mention God, nor did it call the people of Nineveh to repentance. So why did the Ninevites believe what Jonah warned them of? Jesus tells us in Luke 11:29-32 that the Ninevites had heard of Jonah’s miraculous deliverance from the belly of that fish and that they will, “stand up at the judgement with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here.” The people of Nineveh heard and believed God…may this present generation do the same.
King Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah were desperate. Enemy armies were fast approaching and they didn’t know what to do. They found themselves in a dark valley of desperation, discouragement, and fear with no way out…but they resolved to trust God. And it’s in that same valley that God worked a mighty miracle…giving them victory over their enemies. That valley of their suffering was changed into the Valley of Beracah…the Valley of Praise. With God’s help, we can grow during those hard times. Our faith can increase and be strengthened in the midst of turmoil, loss, and strife…if we trust God. It’s then that our valley of the shadow of death can also become a Valley of Praise.