Does God work in Mysterious ways?

Episode 68

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Hosted by
Carl Joseph

Carl is a biblical scholar, minister, husband, father and life coach. In his mid-twenties he had a powerful encounter with God and saw miraculous healings as a result. He passionately shares these stories and empowers others to fulfill their God-given potential.

Many people believe God works in ‘mysterious ways,’ although it’s not precisely clear where this sentiment comes from. God does not bring confusion nor is He capricious. Even if God’s ways might appear mysterious on the surface, His promises can be relied upon. Our carnal mind can sometimes oppose God’s ways, but that doesn’t mean He is necessarily, ‘mysterious.’ Our job is to trust Him, in spite of difficult circumstances. Get ready to enjoy a unique broadcast with Carl, as he reminds us that God’s promises are ‘yes and amen’!

Here is a complete transcript of the podcast (below)…

There is a rumor out there, that God works in mysterious ways, heck, even the Bible says he does. Well, the word mysterious is not found anywhere in the Authorized King James Version of the bible. In fact, no-one knows exactly; where this statement that God works in mysterious ways, actually comes from. Maybe this scripture is where it comes from Romans 11:33, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” So, does the Bible really say that God works in mysterious ways, and what does that really mean? Now, it’s certainly true that to our natural mind God’s ways may appear mysterious. Even what he commanded his people to do doesn’t much make sense to us with our natural minds when we read the OT. For example, why would Joshua and the children of Israel have to march around the walls of Jericho seven times in a week before the walls fell when they blew the trumpets? Why did God tell Moses to lift up his staff, and only then would the Red Sea part. Why did God want the ankles of the priests to touch the river Jordan and only then would he divert the river Jordan and hold the waters back, so the children of Israel could cross the Promised Land? Why did he tell Namaan to wash seven times in the Jordan River to be healed of leprosy? Why did God tell Gideon to arm himself with 300 men against, wait for it….135,000 Midianites, armed with pitcher, lamp and horn…. what!!? Ezekiel was told to preach to the wind and bones and Moses threw a tree into bitter water to make it drinkable.

These things sure don’t make much sense to us on the surface. But friend, whether we understand it or not, God wanted us to obey Him! We are not supposed to understand God first, and then obey Him…No, Obey Him first and the understanding will come later. Yes, friend these requests by God seem strange to our rational mind certainly, but friend, the natural mind will never be able to comprehend these miraculous events or supernatural occurrences. Remember the Bible says in, Romans 8:7 7 “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” How can a man hanging on a cross 2000 yrs ago, possibly have anything to do with me or take my sin away for that matter, it seems strange to us but the word of God validates, this is the way God chose to redeem us from sin. We serve a supernatural God, and He has not changed and we must not belittle the supernatural component of God. He may operate differently in the New Covenant as He did from the old, but friend, we live in a supernatural world right now, whether you choose to believe this or not. Consider the numerous accounts of strange lights or unidentifiable objects flying in the sky, better known as UFO’s or the sightings of ghosts or apparitions in various haunted places, or the strange noises or booms heard in the skies all around the word or the accounts of mysterious angelic intervention in times of impending tragedy. We may believe in science instead of God but even the scientists cannot downplay the supernatural sightings which point to the fact there is more out there than what we can see, touch or hear. To acknowledge the supernatural elements of this world does not mean we’re nuts, but if we try to perceive the supernatural without God’s word as our guiding light, like I said before, we will most assuredly become deceived.

Friend there are supernatural beings and supernatural powers in this world, for both good and evil, but thank God them that be for us, are more than them that be against us. When the Apostle Paul spoke to the Colossians in his letter, in Colossians 2:20, he said “You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world.” There are dark supernatural powers working against us Christians and they’re ever present within the earth but we are in the occupying army because Jesus has already defeated the enemy at the cross and granted us power and authority over the devil and his demon forces. There are also angelic hosts that surround us and are ever present to assist us by hearkening to God’s word.

Friend I will say to you right up front, God may be moving in mysterious ways on the surface, but we can be sure, that God will do exactly as He has promised in the NT and there is no mystery about that. I’ll tell you what’s mysterious to me, and that’s a God choosing to become a man, live here on earth for 33 yrs, dyeing on a cross for people who were hostile to Him and laying his life down for them. That’s mysterious to me friend. In these Bible accounts I mentioned previously, God requires a response of faith from man to validate his belief in God. Friend, for every act of faith there must be corresponding action on our part in order for God to move. For example, when Jesus healed people, he often asked the person to do something as a response to their belief, like stretch forth your hand, or go show yourself to the priest to be made whole, etc. When Moses raised His staff to part the Red Sea, he demonstrated that he believed God could do it. Also, when the priests walked into the river Jordan it was a rushing river but God wanted to see their faith, that they really believed in Him and as soon as they made the first move, God held back the waters.

Does God keep some secrets from us that He will not share? Does this make him mysterious to some people? What does the bible say about this? Well, the Bible does show there are some secret things that God keeps, but it also infers that we should seek them out. Proverbs 25:2 says,” It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: But the honor of kings is to search out a matter, “and in another instance, “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us. And to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29).

There’s an interesting story of the hymn writer William Cooper. At one point in his life, this eighteenth-century English poet became suicidal. Deciding to end it all, he took poison. It didn’t work. Then he intended to throw himself into the Thames River but he was miraculously restrained on the bridge. Next day he fell on a knife, and the blade broke off! ha ha. At last, he resorted to hanging himself; but after all that, he was still rescued when unconscious and revived. Following these foiled suicide attempts; Cowper picked up a copy of the Bible and began reading the Book of Romans. He finally found the God who had sustained him through terrible days and fitful nights! It was this survivor who eventually wrote the hymn: “God Moves in a Mysterious Ways.” Friend, I would suggest to you, this was not God being mysterious, merely, the manifestation of God’s protection and providence which is outlined in His word. He cares for all and wishes that not one of us would die and go to Hell. Now let’s read another scripture that may point to God being mysterious, Isaiah 55:6-9:

“Seek ye the Lord while he may be found,
Call ye upon him while he is near:
Let the wicked forsake his way,
And the unrighteous man his thoughts:
And let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him;
And to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
Neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are my ways higher than your ways,
And my thoughts than your thoughts.

Did you notice the context of verse 8 and 9 is talking of God’s mysterious ways and his thoughts being above ours are, in reference to His unending mercy and how He’s willing to pardon the wicked when we are not! God then goes on to explain the forces of nature and how he designed the evaporate-transpiration cycle in the following verses. To us friend, it’s unfathomable how God could pardon Hitler for example but if Adolf Hitler repented of his wicked ways and received Christ just prior to his death, Christ would have forgiven Him and he would be in heaven right now. Friend that is the level of unending mercy we’re talking about, that’s what we can’t get our head around, but He’s God, not us. Let’s look at another passage that could be an example of God’s mysterious ways. Isaiah 46-9-10 and I’m reading from the NLT this time:

Remember the things I have done in the past.
For I alone am God!
I am God, and there is none like me.
Only I can tell you the future
before it even happens.
Everything I plan will come to pass,
for I do whatever I wish.

Now just because God has proclaimed in advance everything that has yet to transpire, does not mean He is the author of all things that will transpire. An analogy would be watching a movie. If you have seen a movie before your friend has seen it, then you know what is going to happen because you’ve seen it all before but it doesn’t mean you decided everything in that movie. In the same way God watches the choices man will make down the ages, in advance of Him making them because He has foreknowledge. But of course, God can and does influence many of the choices man makes and protects us even if we make bad choices because His mercy endures forever. Once again friend we are left to figure out the extent of God’s sovereignty and what role man’s choice has in the outcome of History and the truth is, there is no easy answer. Because God exists outside of our space-time continuum, and He views time in a circular fashion, as opposed to linear, He has seen all of History transpire already. Some have speculated that Ezekiel’s vision in Ezekiel chapter one references the circular aspect of time from God’s viewpoint. In other words, God sits in the center of the circle of time and sees all the passage of time instantaneously in every direction. For him, he is looking at the past, present and future, simultaneously. Don’t ask me to figure out how He does this friend, He’s just God OK!  He therefore knows what choices man will make along with way to forge the outcome of History and the positive influences God has placed upon man to cause His purposes to come to pass. So, the outcome of History is not all on God’s shoulders, neither is it all on man’s but both have a role to play in the final outcome, through the annals of time. The same can be said of the Gospel, if we are disobedient to His command to spread the Good News, God’s message can be hindered by us.

And I didn’t even mention the role Satan has to play either as he entices man into bad decision making which are also factored into the final outcome of History. Dr. Michael Lake, my professor likes to say it this way, “The devil is playing checkers but God is playing three-dimensional chess.” God has a counter move for every human or satanic strategy that tries to derail his will, and the course of History will always end up as He desires it because of his omniscient counter measures but like I said not everything that happens along the way, is God’s will. Let me end now with a few scriptures that validate God’s reliability:

God is not a man, that he should lie; Neither the son of man, that he should repent:Hath he said, and shall he not do it? Or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Num 23:19) and also 1st Thess 5:24,“God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful. “

Friend, God’s ways may appear mysterious to us because He has seen the end from the beginning and knows all outcomes. Someone once said that, “Gods will would be your will, if you knew all the facts of the situation like He does“. The age-old lie of the devil is that somehow God is using oppression, trials and suffering for your benefit, If Satan can convince you of this, then you won’t resist it and that’s where deception kicks in. Don’t believe the lies friend, you must rightly divide the word of truth. Friend He has our best interests at heart… (Jer 29:11) NLT “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”. Friend God can be trusted no matter what you’ve experienced. Give Him another chance today, you won’t be disappointed.

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Episode 68