(From a sermon of Bro. Julius Adewumi, night vigil, 2/2/96)
In Heb.11:30 we read: "By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about
We want to examine why God allows situations to sometimes get to extreme crisis times before
He steps in to perform miracles.
We know the story about the walls of Jericho and the events preceeding those walls. The theme of this sermon is "God moves at impossible times". What do I mean by impossible times? Remember the
Hebrews were to cross river Jordan. God allowed them to wait until the river was overflowing its banks
before He told them "it's time to cross". Naturally human intelligence would have suggested to wait
till the time when the water level is low again: "for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest" . (Joshua 3:15). But God is not moved by circumstances. As far as God is concerned, "Jordan overflowing its banks" is nothing to him. What we want to point out in this sermon is the fact that God allows situations to get to when humanly "impossible" many times before He steps in to perform wonders.
The believer needs to know this, so that we can hold on longer in times of trouble. Let's not be like the fathers in the wilderness of whom the Lord said "they do always err in their hearts and have not known my ways". (Heb.3:10).
Men could have said to Joshua, "let's wait till the river level goes lower before we attempt to cross it". No! It is when God wants you to cross that you should -- so that the glory may be all of God. The glory will be greatest for God when the situation is already beyond human control. Remember even in this generation, skeptics are already denying the miracle at Jordan and at the Red sea. One skeptic said the Red sea was crossed at a very low area, about knee-deep. He forgot that it would be a greater miracle if a "knee-deep" water would drown Pharaoh's chariots and horses and the riders.
Why does God allow situations to get critical or humanly impossible before he intervenes at times?
I have this personal testimony when my wife was to have our first baby in 1987. We had prayed for smooth and easy delivery throughout the pregnancy. We know God has answered our prayers. But when the D-day arrived, everything was still smooth. My wife was admitted at 11.00 AM after the bag-of-water
was already broken, with not-much contraction. We were there all the night, and the doctor was becoming impatient because the opening was not dialated to the size prefered. In fact, not dialating at all.
I was with her in the hospital all the time praying. God waited till at about 4.00 AM the following morning when the doctor had changed his mind and had decided to proceed to operation table, "C-section", because he said it's getting too long for the baby's sake. But that was what we had prayed against for nine months. But God waited. God waited for the last moment. Why did He has to wait till that moment, when
he could have done it at 11.00 AM, or at 5.00 PM when the doctors had not changed their mind about normal delivery? The doctor had said he couldn't wait any longer . He had been expecting the dialation
of the uterus to be about 10cm since 11.00 AM, but it remained at 3cm even after 3.00 AM the following morning. Why did God wait that long is the question? So that God can receive the greatest glory! It would not be a miracle if it went smooth like it normally would. Of course none of us want to be used as an experimental case even though we know God is on the scene. None of us wants to volunteer to go through what Job went through for God. For one thing, God will not tell you that it is a test anyway.
At about 4.00 AM, when the doctor told us they have got to go for C-section, I summoned up courage and asked for 30 more minutes. The doctor said "go ahead, whatever you want to do. It will take more than 30 minutes to prepare the operating table." I asked the Lord for instant miracle. I could not justifiably hold back the doctors' knife. I felt a confidence. The Lord told me to ask the doctors to check the dialation one more time before they proceed to the operation table. When they came inside the room, I asked the doctors to check it one more time. It sounded silly to them, but they did and found that the dialation had jumped to almost 8 centimeters. They were amazed and they said, "let's wait another 30 minutes and see if there will be further dialation. There was! They didnot have to go through operation. They confessed that It had to be the Lord, because they had seen me on my knees praying. The question is "why did the Lord has to wait that long, till the last moment, before coming to the scene, even though we had been praying for nine months? He received the greatest glory when he reversed the humanly irreversible. It will be difficult to call it a miracle before the critics if the situation had not gone to the stage at which the doctors had given up on normal delivery.
As another example, look at the story of Abraham. Abraham was promised that he would have a child when he was alreay 75 years old. They waited and waited. No baby came; until Sarah his wife suggested that Abraham should take the maidservant, Hagar, for wife. He did, and that seemed to appease the longing when Ishmael was born. They were satisfied so far, but that was not what God meant. When Abraham was now 99 years old and Sarah about 89, God came again and renewed the promise. "Then Abraham fell upon his face and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him, that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?" (Gen. 17:17). Abraham laughed, "Ah, Ah, Ah, who thinks of a baby anymore?" But God said the baby He promised was about to show up. But why did God has to wait that long? So that God can get all the glory! Do you see what I'm saying? If they had gotten children normally when they were young married couple, there would be no miracle involved. When people get married, they naturally will have children if there is no problem. God needs to show miracles sometimes by allowing situations to be humanly impossible.
The Lord Jesus Christ gave us another example: He received a message from Mary and Martha that his friend Lazarus was sick. But the Lord Jesus purposely tarried till Lazarus was dead before he responded to the call. "Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and Martha. .... Therefore his sisters sent unto him (Jesus) saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby." (John 11:3-6). In effect he was saying, this is like a setup to glorify God, but Mary and Martha did not know that. Job also was set up in his afflictions, but Job did not know about it until later. (Job 1:8-12). God occassionally set his people up for such demonstration of his power. When the Lord Jesus came to the scene, Lazarus was already 4 days in the grave. God gets the greatest glory when he reverses the humanly irreversible as the Lord Jesus called Lazarus back to life! (Jn.11:43).
The theme of this sermon is "God moves at impossible times". Let's look at another example. God wanted to deliver the Hebrews from Egypt. They had been in Egypt for over 400 years. When it was close to the time for God to come and deliver them, according to his calendar, a wicked Pharaoh arose who made the Hebrews to serve with rigour. Remember this: When God is about to give you your miracle things may become worse! That was what happened to the Israelites in Egypt. Everything became worse. Ofcourse that heightened their prayerfulness. (Exo.1:8-22). Also when Moses came back from exile, God had spoken to Moses to go bring the Hebrews out of Egypt; after Moses went before Pharaoh and asked to "let my people go", Pharaoh doubled their labour. They were compelled now to make bricks without straw. (Exo.5:1-11). Yea, when God is on the scene, situations sometimes will grow worse before it gets better. The reason is, when God rises up, the devils usually run off and run ahead. That is what causes pandemonium. Think of it as if a man will walk through a pack of pigeons feeding on the sidewalk. The pigeons will fly off in the direction the man walks to avoid him.
Similarly, what you are seeing in the news right now concerning evil events, natural disasters, and moral decay; those things are happening because God is coming. When God begins to come the devils will scatter and knock down things on their path in the pandemonium. God is coming, folks! That is why there will be commotions, troubles, earthquakes, etc.
When God arose to deliver the Hebrews, the devils ran ahead to try to destroy Moses when he was born. That failed! They increased the affliction of the people. Before things get better, they always sometimes get worse. It's because when the Lord is about to perform miracle, the devil always stand around to yell and roar. But don't be afraid of the devil's roaring, because God is just about to give you a miracle.
When Moses was about to get the final victory, the situation turned sour. There had been what we could call "close negotiation" between Moses and Pharaoh. It was almost a matter of who and who will go among the Hebrews. "But the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he would not let them go. And Pharaoh said unto him, Get thee from me, take heed to thyself, see my face no more; for in that day thou seest my face thou shalt die. And Moses said, Thou hast spoken well, I will see thy face no more." (Exo.10:27-29). That sounds like the end of the deal! No more negotiations. But God was about to give the final victory. The next and final step taken by God, when all the firsborn of Egypt were destroyed, caused the Hebrews to be evicted in haste. When all negotiations seemed never to be anymore; It's all over, Moses! You cannot see Pharaoh anymore! But God has finally arrived! Yea, when God is about to give you your miracle, things may seem to get worse.
There is a popular saying that "the darkest hour is just before dawn". Hold on, folks! The captain of the ship is on his way to rescue the crew! He will arrive at the peak of the crisis. (Read some of my other testimonies, of holding-on, in Faith Testimonies Part 2). If you are in the plan of God and have been holding up the fence against the devil, hold on! The battle isn't over till it's over! Jesus Christ, the Master, is about to arrive, folks! Don't give-in too quickly! The body of Christ is going to need this type of exhortation in the days of persecution which is coming ahead. Hang in tough, folks! Victory is certain! Don't give up. It may be just about the time God is to perform the miracle. We are not to give up. When things look as if it's getting tougher, that is when God is just about to give us the miracle.
In one of my testimonies about twelve years ago when I was going through immigration, things went into a dark hour for me: My employer was going through financial difficulties; the immigrant visa which the employer filed for me was denied for some technicalities; we have not been paid salary for about two paychecks in a row; I also received letter from the immigration office to leave the country
within 45 days in lieu of the denial of my visa appeal. I had no more money to pay my rent how much more for airfare out of the country. But a vision from God told me that "don't worry, you will get that immigrant visa." Truly, if we hang in there with the Lord, the darkest hour is just before dawn! In time, the Lord worked everything out and He received the glory. I didn't go out of the country, and I finally got the visa through the same application. God worked it out.
The same thing with Moses in Egypt. Moses was about to get Pharaoh to almost approve the emigration of the Hebrews, but Pharaoh suddenly said "No! See my face no more!" Negotiation broke down, wasn't it? But the darkest hour was just before dawn. Especially when God is at work. What I'm saying is: God sometimes will move when we think all hopes are lost: impossible state of events.
Remember the phrase always: the darkest hour is just before dawn!
In all of these testimonies, one thing common is that "we are not talking of the faith of Moses in any of these wonders". It is not the faith of the person involved in the situation at all. This is the work of God himself. It is God moving. But God allowed the devil to make things look so bad. God is not afraid of the devil. Remember, it is the work of God himself which we are describing. Even my testimony where I spoke about my immigrant visa, it was not my faith at all. Someone may say "this man has faith!" It is not our faith at this time. It is God allowing things to go that bad so that He can show his mighty hands of deliverance. There is a difference between "man exercising his faith", and "God setting things up to demonstrate his power, so that we that are involved will not forget it forever." The man may shake and tremble during this time, and it is the grace of God that really is carrying the man at that time. It is the case of the story of a man in his dreams who saw two footprints (his, and God's), which turn to one footprint in time of trouble, whereby the dreamer thought God forsook him in the worst times (when the footprint is only one); but God said, that was when He had to carry the man in his arms (the one footprint is that of God).
It was not my faith that caused the uterus to dialate at the last moment in my testimony above. It was not the faith of Abraham that brought the child when Sarah was past bearing. It was not the faith of Moses that parted the Red Sea, when Pharaoh was pursuing them from behind. God set up those critical situations to give himself glory. But He needed us to hang in there with him even though He has not told us the reason for the delay. In our hearts we human beings always prefer things smooth and easy, without any complications. But when we invite God to get involve, the enemies of God usually rise up to wage a war and they cause the complications. God therefore gets the glory when the victory is won.
Of course, the people of God cannot do without God's involvement. But God chooses when he will allow the devil to complicate things.
Remember the story at the Red Sea. God told the hebrews to camp at the Red Sea. So they camped there. God told Moses He would cause Pharaoh to pursue after them, and Pharaoh did. That is why I said it was not the faith of Moses that split the Sea. God set up those things to show his wonders. Moses would have prefered it to be in a smoother way, without any complications; without the people screaming and throwing harsh words at him. What we are saying is: the darkest hour is just before dawn. Hang in there, don't give up. God was just about to perform a great miracle. The sea was before them, Pharaoh's army was behind them, the people were in a panic; that was a dark hour in their emotional life. They could not run forward, they could not go back. Why does God allow things to look that bad at times before he shows the miracle? To God it's nothing, but to man what we see terrifies us many times. God is about to perform a miracle if we'll just hang in there. Our part is to hang in there with God. Don't give up; then God will step in. If we give up, we've just failed him. If the people gave up on him, it's too bad. It means God has no supporter. He wants his people to support him. As long as we hang in there, supporting him, God will step in to give the miracle and we will be giving testimonies of this sort latter.
When Pharaoh appeared behind the Hebrews at the Red Sea, the people panicked and cried unto God. Finally God told Moses to stretch the rod and he divided the Red Sea. Why didn't God do that before Pharaoh came? That is what we are trying to show here: God allowed the situation to turn critical in the mind of the people, when there was no other alternative, no hope unless God performed a miracle. God allow dark hours just before dawn. The same thing at river jordan. The river overflowed every summer since they had been camping by the river. But one particular summer when the water has overflowed, that was when God told them it was time to cross the river. You could have said, why don't we wait till the water goes down? Maybe during spring time. God said Now! God is not moved by those circumstances. God works when situations look like impossible. Because that is the only time he will get the greatest glory -- when everything looks hopeless.
Also in Romans chapter 8, When we, sons of God, are going to come forth at the end of the world, something like this is going to take place. Before the sons of God come forth with power, there will be persecution; the earth itself will be groaning and travailing. It has been prophezied that the sons of God will be manifested at the end of the world to demonstrate the power of God. These are the firstfruits from the earth - as Christ will bring many more sons unto glory. (Heb.2:10).
"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body." (Rom.8:18-23).
Remember this: before the sons of God can come to the fulness of Christ and demonstrate the power of God, there will be travailing as of a woman in travail.
The church itself will go through hard times. Earthquakes, tornadoes, wars, and all those things listed in the scriptures, are part of the travailing of the creature, because the sons of God are coming forth. When God rises up to come, the devils will run away. When the devils are running off, there will be commotions in the direction they run, as they knock down some things. That is what is going on. Look at it in Rev.12, the dragon saw the sons of God coming and he stood up to resist it.
"And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth , and pained to be delivered.
And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth; and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born." (Rev.12:1-4).
That is what will cause the travailing of the creature, and the travailing of the church. Because God is about to come, and the devil is in panic.
God moves at impossible times is what I'm trying to say. God will also allow situations to become critical and almost unbearable before he takes the sons away from here in the rapture. God moves at impossible times. The darkest hour is just before dawn.
Let's think of another example. Remember the story of Shedrach, Meshach and Abednigo. They were arrested by the king Nebuchadnezzar for not bowing down to his image. The king said the furnace should be made seven times hotter in his anger. In order that there will be no escape, the king commanded the furnace to be seven times hotter. That was enough to terrify the men into submission to bow to the image. The situation had become critical when they were now not just faced with a hot furnace of fire, but seven times hotter. But the darkest hour is just before dawn. When the Lord God was about to perform his miracle, they made the furnace seven times hotter! Lest there be any doubt about it: if the men escaped, it would have to be by a miracle. The men were ready to die anyway. When they were thrown in, God was there waiting for them. God would wait till the last minute to perform his miracle. When it looks like all hope was gone, a miracle is just about to happen. Praise the Lord.
There is a prophecy which I already placed on internet. This prophecy was giving to me in a visitation by the angel of the Lord (See Predictions under "write the visions" on internet homepage). He said April 1st (or 2nd), one person by name Pete (or Phil) Moore (or Mohr) [ Idon't know the exact spelling, and the sound of the name and the date was erasing as I woke up from the vision], will be killed by a "basket ball bullet", but God will heal him. I received this sometimes in May or June 1995. You have to check the internet homepage for the detail. God will perform the miracle and perhaps doctors will testify that it has to be a miracle by God. "Basket ball bullet", I perceive, means a stray bullet which someone shoots up into the sky and came down to land on an innocent somebody in the head. We all know if a bullet hits someone in the head like that, it's dangerous, and I believe, medically hopeless. But God said he will heal the man. It will be April 1st or 2nd. On internet I simply said early April. I wondered whether the healing will occur through a minister. But the way it was said, perhaps it will be simply through the doctors giving up on the case, and the man yet survive. Whatever it is, it may be an event which we will know about, either in the news, or in this area, or an important international figure if it will be this year, because April 1st or 2nd, may still be another year. The year was not given.
The reason why I insert this prophecy in this sermon is this: The darkest hour is just before dawn. When things look like hopeless, like if the doctors give up that fellow when he is killed by the basket-ball- bullet. The doctors will write off the fellow as hopeless. It will have to be God who will cause that man to live after such accident. God will perform the miracle. But the question is why does God have to wait till such critical situation before he performs his wonders? He could have made the man move away before the bullet come down. He could have caused the bullet not to strike the man, by deflecting it away, isn't it? But sometimes God waits that long to get the greatest glory. That is what I'm pointing out.
As I have said, one of the reasons God delays in performing his wonders is to get the greatest glory.
Sometime also it's just according to God's calendar. For example when Abraham waited for so long to have a child, God's calendar is what he will follow and not our own calendar. However, that can only be said about those who fit into God's sovereign plan of events. Abraham fitted into God's sovereign plan: If you look into the genealogy of Jesus Christ in Mathew chapter 1, verse 17 said "So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations."
You can see the wisdom of the Master planner in that genealogy: If Abraham had given birth to Isaac before he was 100 years old, Isaac would have had to be a grandfather for Jacob and not the direct father. And it would not have been recorded as "fourteen generations from Abraham to David". Do you see?
God's timetable He follows. Similarly, when we talk about God will bring a final revival to the body of Christ. It may look as if no hope that revival will come but God follows his own timetable. We may think we are gathered so that God can start a revival through us, and then people refuse to show up for the prayer meetings. It looks as if no hope. The devil has said in himself: "these people cannot be used for any revival, I have scattered them. They cannot even revive themselves!" The devil is a liar. Don't give up. God follows his own timetable. Just hang in there. The darkest hour is just before dawn!
For another example, Moses knew in himself, when he was still living in Pharaoh's palace, that God would use him to bring deliverance to the Israelites. He had revelation or insight that he was not just living in the palace for nothing. "And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel. And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian: For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not." (Acts 7:23-25).
He knew God had a work for him. He tried to begin the work by killing the Egyptian, and he had to run away from Egypt for that. He gave up! He ran away when an hebrew told him "who made you a ruler or a judge over us? Are you going to kill me as you kill that Egyptian?" The situation was hopeless as he said to himself "leave them alone; let me just get out of here." And he fled. But God followed his own calendar and not our own calendar, because forty years later, God cornered Moses and told him to go do it. Moses said "Me? I can't do it!" But God sent him. This same Moses who tried but failed, and gave up in presenting himself as the deliverer for Israel, God sent at the proper time. God follows his own timetable! When God is involved in a situation which is growing long, God will empower those involved to be able to wait as long as it takes. So it's no more their own faith, but God. If God is setting a stage to get a glory, he will have to empower those people who are part of the stage with enough patience to wait till he gets there to perform his miracle.
Abraham didn't stop trusting in God just because things did not happen the way he expected. He hung in there. You may say, he had nowhere else to go. Even though he worked out the birth of Ishmael, that didn't offset the plan of God in anyway, as long as the son through Sarah came at the appointed time for the genealogy.
Another example, God set the stage for Job to be tried. Who could take such pain and suffering for any religion? But God was involved and he empowered Job to wait through the suffering till God came down to set him free. He gave strength for the inner man, to be able to hang in there. The same thing with Shedrach, Meshach, and Abednigo. It was not their faith at work at all! They were not thinking: our faith will make the fire not burn us. They were ready to die. It was strength for the inner man given by God at the crisis time that carried them through the fear. We have to know that it is God's work and not our own faith.
God also shows up sometimes to show mercy, or in answer to prayers. The story of the dead boy who was raised by the Lord Jesus Christ , in the city called Nain showed the compassion of God. (Lk.7:11-17). That also was an hopeless case. The boy was being carried to the grave for burial, and Jesus met them on the road, and had compassion on the widowed mother.
Another example was when Peter was in jail. In answer to prayers! The church at Jerusalem was praying for many days for Peter. But on the last night when he would be brought forward by Herod to be killed the following morning, God sent his angel and rescued Peter out of the prison. You can say, God could have delivered Peter many days before that, but He waited till the last day, perhaps because the prayer of the saints had been intensified when they knew that was the last night for Peter before he would be killed. (Acts 12).
In all of these testimonies, it's all the work of God. But God needs men and women on the stage with him. We are to remember that we shouldn't give up easily. Let's go into prayer.
Let's pray right now and ask the Lord: whatever you want to do through us, let us not fail thee; let us not withdraw before the last minute. Give us the grace to stand firm to the last minute. (Rev.2:10). Let's pray that the body of Christ not deny Christ in the days of persecution, which shall come soon upon the earth before the end comes. (Rev.6:10-11). God allow these things to prove us and to make us as pure gold.
I pray that the body of Christ will get the patience and the faith to hang in there with God in the time of crisis. Do not tarry long either O, Lord, for the word said God will not suffer us to be tempted above that we are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that we may be able to bear it. (1Cor.10:13). Thank you Lord. In Jesus' name. Amen!
Bro. Julius Adewumi
Gospel Distribution Ministry,