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Point of Reference

    by Fred Price

Evidence of Things Not Seen (KJ) Heb. 11:1
Date Posted: January 28, 2022

Getting a look beyond the veil of temporal reality, or a glimpse of what goes on “behind the scenes” of God’s sovereign plan is surprisingly dealt with a number of times and in various ways throughout scripture. These incidents are unusual and infrequent to be sure, increasing their impact and import when we “discover” them. Besides which, our senses of taste, touch, sight, smell and hearing are attuned to our earthly existence, not so much to the spirit-world. Thus our difficulty in relating to an invisible otherworldly Being – who actually has to handicap himself to “appear” to us.

One incident occurs early in history, at the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden; Cherubim – or a guard with a flaming sword – was stationed at the entrance to the Garden to block any return to the earthly paradise by the offending couple. ( Genesis 3:24)

Another is the vision Jacob had while traveling to Haran seeking a wife, coming close on the heels of his rather underhanded dealings with his older brother Esau. Seeking refuge – as well as a wife – Jacob stopped for a night’s rest at a place soon to be called “House of God” because of his subsequent experience there. Having gone to sleep, Jacob saw a dream-like ladder (KJ) or stairway (NIV) reaching to heaven with angels descending and ascending between earth and heaven. (Evidently busy with errands from God.) At the top stood the Lord, proclaiming his godhood and identifying himself as the Lord of Jacob’s ancestors, promising to continue the covenant established with them with Jacob. Bethel becoming the place name for this encounter with the supernatural. ( Genesis 28:10-19)

The next incident of “unveiling” speaks to the promise made in Psalm 34:7, “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.” Conceding that, “A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from (or through) them all;…” Psalm 34:19 (See also Romans 8:28) A story of the great and courageous prophet Elisha proves this point. Elisha had been supporting the nation of Israel by preternaturally informing his countrymen of the whereabouts and plans of their enemies; hinting at the protective hedge God apparently places about his followers from time-to-time. (See Job 1:9 & Zechariah 3:1) In retaliation, the Arameans discovered Elisha’s location and surreptitiously surrounded the city with a large and mighty force. Arising early the next morning, Elisha’s servant discovered the fearsome sight, exclaiming “Oh, my Lord, what shall we do?” Elisha’s calm response being, “Don’t be afraid… those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Praying for God to open his servant’s “spiritual” eyes, the Lord revealed an angelic host in fiery chariots surrounding and protecting Elisha, simultaneously striking the enemy blind. But instead of destroying the enemy army, Elisha led them away to a distant land, where their sight was restored and they were subsequently fed and cared for before returning home – thoroughly flabbergasted and discouraged from harassing the Israelites again. ( 2 Kings 6:8-23)

The Book of Daniel relates three rather spectacular interventions by God on the side of his faithful followers; one as an angelic presence in the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. (Dan. 3) Another is that same presence alongside Daniel in the lions’ den. (Dan. 6) And finally, a strange incident is recorded in Daniel 10. Daniel, greatly distressed over a vision he had had; mourned, fasted and prayed for guidance and understanding for three weeks. Exhausted and overwhelmed by a “presence” sent in answer to his prayer, Daniel was reassured that, “Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding… your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. (Evidently a demon in charge of the “dept.” of Persia.) Then Michael, one of the chief princes (an Arch-Angel of heaven), came to help me… Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future,...” (Consider too Joshua and the destruction of Jericho (Josh. 6), Gideon with three hundred men overcoming the “hosts” of Midian (Jud. 7), and maybe more remarkably, Elijah’s experience with a whirlwind, earthquake and fire – ultimately followed by God’s still, small voice. 1 Kings 19:1-18)

A big hurdle for us to overcome is the idea that mystery is not the absence of meaning but the presence of more meaning than we can comprehend. Author Philp Yancy observing that, “We are profoundly different, God and I, which explains why friendship is not the primary model used in the Bible to describe our relationship, worship is .”1

Which is why “the ancients” were commended for basing their faith on, “…the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (KJ) Or as the NIV puts it, “…being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1

1From, Reaching for the Invisible God , Zondervan Publishing

Check back next week for more on the authenticating power of the miraculous.

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Biography Information:

Fred Price - married (50 years), father of two grown children, grandfather of six.

Fred retired earlier this year after 42 years as a factory worker.  He has always had a heart for young people and the challenges they face today.  Over the years Fred has taught Discipleship Groups for High School and college students.  

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