Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Miracles through worship

A gospel bus at my town's antique car show
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Isaiah 30:27-31:9

TO CHEW ON: "Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help,
And rely on horses,
Who trust in chariots because they are many
And in horsemen because they are very strong,
But who do not look to the Holy One of Israel
Nor seek the Lord!" - Isaiah 31:1

Steven Stiles tells of the time their church youth group was on a mission trip and they got to the last service station before their planned drive through the night just after it had closed. There was no way their two old gas-guzzling school buses and one van could make the 160 miles to their destination without running out of fuel. But somehow on that night they had faith to trust God for a miracle. Here are snatches of the story of as Stiles tells it in Journey on the Hard Side of Miracles:

"We decided we would indeed drive into the night, and whatever happened would happen. We would simply trust God to take care of us ... p. 248.

... Before getting back on board I suggested that we should be praying during the entire time we were travelling while running out of fuel. Everyone grabbed the idea and ran with it. We were going to begin this adventure in faith worshipping God, and we should honour and praise him the entire time he was leading us to whatever was going to happen next... p. 249.

...After we saw that the fuel gauges had pinned, we turned every more deeply to the Shepherd, and as the miles continued to roll by, we began to experience a palpable sense of God's mercy and care... p. 251.

... There is no way to adequately describe what was happening to us as the hours passed. The farther we travelled, the more grateful we felt. It was as though we were somehow being carried down the road as our singing and praise lifted heavenward in the darkened mountain wilderness. Other than the Everlasting Arms, I have no idea how those two buses continued through the night ... p. 253.

...Now so very close to Marsing with only the final gentle rise before reading level ground, the riders on the Ford gave in to their exhaustion and they decided to stop singing. But that city was not our source of help. Just as suddenly as the singing stopped, the engine on the Ford also stopped" p. 254.

When I first read this story I couldn't help but think of instances in the Bible where physical intercession and worship worked a breakthrough:

  • Moses' lifted arms helped Israel gain the victory over the Amalekites (Exodus 17:11)
  • The trumpeters and the ark led the parade around Jericho (Joshua 6:8, 15-16).
  • Queen Esther's three-day fast preceded the Jews' triumph over Haman's threat (Esther 3:16).
  • Singers and worshippers led Israel into battle under King Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 20:21,22).

Note a reference to song even in the first part of today's reading. Right in the middle of the judgement on Assyria these words appear:

"You shall have a song
As in the night when a holy festival is kept,
And gladness of heart as when one goes with a flute,
To come into the mountain of the Lord,
To the Mighty One of Israel... Isaiah 39:29-30.

PRAYER: Dear God, I have much to learn about spiritual breakthrough via praise and worship. Please be my teacher in this area. Amen.

MORE: The songs they sang

Some of the oldies that reverberated through the schoolbuses that night:

"Got Any Rivers"
(The link has a couple of stanzas I wasn't aware of.)

"Peace, peace, wonderful peace"

"Precious Lord, Take My Hand"

Bible Drive-Thru

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