For the week of November 6, 2004 / 22 Heshvan 5765
Torah: Bereshit / Genesis 23:1 - 25:18
Haftarah: 1 Melachim / Kings 1:1-31
Go with the Miracle
left everything he owned to Isaac
Several years ago, we had the opportunity to take a much needed sabbatical. This opportunity required moving cities. We had been leasing a house at the time, the owner of which had been renting it out for many years while working overseas. They were in the process of returning to Canada and were anxious to move back into their house. But due to our lease agreement, we had the right to stay.
When the opportunity for our sabbatical arose, I called the owner and asked if she and her husband would be interested in allowing us to break the lease. I was delighted when she immediately said, "Yes." But the next day, she called back, and said that she changed her mind. As it turned out, her own landlord would not allow her out of her lease, so understandably she could not allow us out of our ours.
We had already gone through a lot of emotional turmoil over the decision to leave. Now we faced more turmoil as we tried to make the situation work. We tried subletting, but we had no takers. We even attempted the Moses approach – "Let my people go!" But that didn't work either.
After much prayer and effort we decided to set a deadline, after which, if it wouldn’t work out to break the lease, we would stay put and wait for the lease period to expire many months later. Yet I still believed in my heart that it was God who had created this opportunity for us, and that, for some reason, it was important for us to leave at that time, not later.
When the day of the deadline arrived I read with my family the passage in the Bible where Yeshua teaches about faith moving mountains. I strongly believed that we were facing one of those mountains. So I called a friend and together we went to pray in front of the apartment building where our landlady was living. We prayed that God would move the mountain. The mountain being the lease in this case.
Nothing happened. Our deadline came and went. So we accepted that we would have to wait and leave seven months later.
Exactly one week later the phone rang. It was our landlady. Her own landlord had told her that she could break her lease for a sum of money. She told me that if we would cover it, we could go. At that time however, we were not in a position to pay anything near that amount. So I had to tell her, "No," and hung up.
Within ten minutes she phoned again. She wanted to know if we would be interested in breaking the lease for free? My legs almost gave way when she said that. I told her I would call her back.
You may wonder why didn't I say "Yes" right away? It was because of how the events played out. After praying and trying so hard to do this thing, we had been stuck. Then after we decided to stay, should we not stick to our decision?
So I called a friend and told him all that had transpired. After listening patiently, he said, "Sounds like a miracle. I would go with the miracle."
My friend wasn't saying that we should accept the offer simply because the turn of events were so unusual. He was saying that he saw God's hand in it. He felt that it is preferable to do what God is involved in no matter how strange it might seem to us.
Isn't that what the story of the Bible is all about? In its pages we encounter people who preferred to go with God and his workings than to live life according to what most people would view as normal and natural.
We read at the start, "Abraham left everything he owned to Isaac." Isaac was Abraham's miracle baby. He had other children. Most people are aware of Ishmael, but not that aware about the children he had through his second wife after Sarah died. If you read the context of this quote, you will see that Abraham cared for his entire household even though at the end of his life his entire inheritance was given to the miracle baby.
It was essential that the legacy given to Abraham by God was passed on to Isaac, for it would be through Isaac's descendants that the power and presence of God would be revealed to the whole world. Through a miracle birth came a miracle nation, who would be called to follow the God of miracles. It would be a challenge through the centuries to go with the miracle instead of doing the more popular, so-called normal thing.
The same challenge is upon us today. When God invades our lives, offering us the choice between doing the logical, more natural thing or going with the miracle, what will we do?
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