Jesus was born at night. Only a few shepherds were awake, those few who were on night watch. The rest were sleeping, along with everyone else in town. Our savior was born after everyone was already in bed. There is something interesting about the way God comes to us, isn’t there? He comes like a thief in the night. When Jesus returns, it will the same way. When Jesus came the first time, He came while everyone was asleep.
A few wise men in a distant country saw the signs and began a very long journey to see the king. We know from Matthew 2 that the Magi took about 2 years to reach Jesus. They were familiar with our Old Testament, the Jewish scriptures. They knew the prophecies about the Messiah better than the Jews did, so when they arrived at King Herod’s palace and told him what they were doing, he was perplexed at the news. He asked them basic questions, and they were confused why Herod didn’t know what they knew. He operated in secret, calling the Magi in to find out the timeline, so he would know how old the Messiah might be (found in Matthew 2:7), and then later sent soldiers to kill every boy in Bethlehem that was 2 years old and under (Matthew 2:16).
On the night that Jesus was born, most of the world missed it. The Magi didn’t miss it, and the few shepherds that were awake were visited by angels and told to go to the town of Bethlehem. Other than that small group, everyone else on earth had no idea. That includes all of the people who had prayed daily for the Messiah to come. When God moves, it often goes unnoticed. Many people miss His presence, His love, His voice. It’s easy to do. God rewards those who diligently seek Him. He is glorified when He conceals things, and He glorifies those who seek the things God conceals.
Why does God seem to enjoy hiding things from His children? It sure does seem like this doesn’t it? He often shares partial prophetic words with us, always just a fraction of a message, and it can take years for us to get through all the codes to figure out what God means, only to find out our ideas and interpretations are wrong. Or why does God often move unnoticed? Shouldn’t He make it obvious so that people can’t deny Him? Many people ask questions like these. The answer is because God wants us to draw close to Him. He will not reward people for something someone else does. That wouldn’t be just. That is why your parents’ faith won’t save you. Every person has to press in to God in order to see Him. Again, God rewards those who diligently seek Him, and He glorifies us when we do.
Allow me to get back to Jesus’ birth. Most of the world missed it. Jesus once taught that His return would be the same way, like a thief in the night. He taught that there will be people who have waited for Him to return, but when He does many will be distracted for a lack of preparation (the Parable of the 10 virgins, for example, Matthew 25). Would you have been asleep if you knew the Messiah was being born that night? Absolutely not. If you knew where and when, you would have been there. But the problem was that most people didn’t seek out the information. The Magi did. People were praying every day for the Messiah to come. They were desperate. But they weren’t desperate to have a relationship with God because their desperation was about freedom from the Romans. They were desperate for a warrior to kill their enemies. So when they hoped that Jesus would be their Messiah, they went to Him only to hear Him say, “Love your enemies,” or, “sell all your possessions,” and they left disappointed.
We must be careful that we don’t make the same mistakes of praying for God to move for us. Rather, we need to seek God out when we pray. We ought to be diligently seeking for His will, listening to Him before we speak. I believe God wants to share everything with us. He doesn’t want to withhold anything, and He freely gives to us. Hopefully we are close enough to hear Him, and not trying to figure out a way to manipulate Him to do what we want (it’s not even possible, but that fact doesn’t seem to deter us from trying). Could we be a people that actually listen before we speak?
From 2015 to 2020, we had a very powerful move of God happen at UBC. In that time, we had over 60 diamonds manifest out of thin air and over 30 feet (3 inches deep) of emerald shard manifest. We had a night in 2018 where a dusting of different colored glory filled our church with blues, purple, gold, silver, green, and reds. We saw 18 people get out of wheel chairs and walk back to their cars, over 40 cancer patients get healed, countless broken bones healed, countless limbs grow out, 6 deaf ears get healed, and 3 blind eyes open and heal. I even got to see a man with no eye, get an eye that worked as it quickly began to grow inside an empty eye socket. Our little church was sent out to 3 different continents, we’ve had over 30 nations come to services here, we have cast out over 30 demons inside (with many more outside), and we have seen Muslims, Hindus, and atheists come to Jesus. As a matter of fact, we have seen approximately 12,000 people come to Christ because God has moved as a result of our faith and obedience.
But you see it is also very easy to miss a move of God. Our church has split twice at the same time that these amazing signs have been happening. That is why it is so important that we understand how easy it is to miss God. People can actually see God move and doubt it. We can get so selfish that we deny what we are seeing. How? Because even though God as moved so incredibly, it was still a struggle every day. Sickness, pain, circumstances, and finances didn’t exactly go away or get better. We struggled, and we continue to struggle Life hasn’t changed a whole lot for us, even though we have seen so much.
That’s how it is. The spiritual Kingdom of God doesn’t greatly impact the physical kingdom, and so it is easy to miss God, just like the Jews did on the night Jesus was born. Would David or Samuel, Nathan or Moses, Elijah or Elisha, Isaiah or Ezekiel have missed Jesus’ birth? No, they would have been there. Why? Because they sought Him out, centuries before He came, and prophesied about His coming. My prayer is that we become a people that don’t miss the movements of God. This next year is an opportunity for us at UBC. God will move. Will we see it? Will we feel it? Will we recognize it?
May we not be found sleeping, but instead be found watchful and ready…
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