When we read the bible we find people who do all sorts of strange things. People who speak out for God and end up in an empty underground water storage tank. People who make axe heads float or stop rain from falling for a couple of years. We look at them and say that was bible times they are different from us.
We think that we cannot do exploits. Yet Isaiah says that it is those who know their God who will do exploits. That leaves me with two questions what does it mean to know God and what could these exploits be.
What does it mean to know God?
Knowing someone is another way of saying that you are in relationship with them. In older versions of the bible it says that Adam knew Eve and as a result had two sons. Well they must have known each other in an intimate fashion.
A relationship starts with an introduction or in the case of God going through the process of being adopted into His family. It then involves a series of interactions that build up the relationship over time.
What kind of interactions does it take to build up a relationship with God. Prayer of all kinds is an obvious one. Attending worship services, reading the bible, listening to teaching taken from the bible are also very useful. Sometimes just being in a place where there is a history of people being in good relationship to God can help. This is what some people call being in a thin place.
There are times when there are considerable challenges in getting to know God. If you are around people who are draining then it can be hard to find the time and energy to pray. Its tough, the time when you need most support is the time when it is hardest to actually do the things that you need to do to develop the relationship and strength you need to survive.
You may find that you are drained because the people around you object to hearing you pray or praying for them. Crazy things can happen like you have a space set aside where you spend time reading and praying and the door becomes unusable. Once the door is out of action you cannot shut yourself in there with God any more. Or you could be struggling because instead of being in a thin place you are in a thick place. Yes there are places where it is harder for you to develop a relationship with God because of what the land has been used for previously.
Those are the challenges I have faced and I am sure that you could tell a few more stories about times when it has been hard for you. When it is tough you need other people to hold you up in prayer. When it is tough those are the times when exploits does not mean advancing they mean surviving and not going backwards.
What could these exploits be?
An exploit is a deed or an achievement especially an heroic one. Exploitation has an interesting meaning i.e. the setting up and getting new production out of an oil field or coal mine etc.
Think of what is involved in exploitation of a coal field. You have to find the coal. There could be a layer of coal under the ground just where we are. If so how far down is it? Has mining from previous generations left some of this coal behind? How are you going to access it?
You need a deep hole to get to the right level and then to make holes going along to take out the coal. If it is fairly close to the surface it might be possible to scrape off the top layer and then scrape out the coal. not all coal is alike so you need someone to buy that type of coal. There again is it a good house coal or a good coking coal. Are there enough buyers to make mining that coal a good idea?
Look at it this way most exploits involve:
- Taking a risk also known as stepping out in faith. This often means making a start even though you are not sure if you will achieve the intended outcome.
- Working out how to achieve the desired goal.
- Hard work to start with. It may not even seen as if there is much return on the effort involved in the beginning.
- Persistence to keep going until the desired result is achieved.
- A reward from all of the above. If all goes well there could be a huge reward.
Exploits are different for all of us. For some it could be surviving a difficult home situation. For others it could be running a business. For some it could be pastoring a church. We all face challenges and different levels of challenges. What is easy for some is tough for others.
Can you do exploits without knowing God?
Obviously some people can because they do. Is it easier to do exploits when you know God? Definitely. The challenge is spending time in prayer and reading the bible so that your strength is built up to do those exploits.
I know there have been times when I have struggled and one contributory factor has been the shallowness of my relationship with God. So shallow that He could not give me the strength and wisdom I needed to survive and better still thrive in tough circumstances. Times when my strength was drained until i was like a dried up even brittle piece of sponge.
The answer to that was to look for circumstances and situations where God could pour water on that sponge and bring it back to life. To be in places and around people so that I could soak in a godly atmosphere until such time I was strong enough to cope with what was ahead. In fact I look back and i see a time when I was that brittle and God did not let go of me because I was struggling He came up with a plan to help me.
What He did was encourage me to go somewhere where I could soak in the atmosphere. I must admit I was so much of a mess that it was hard to know where to start when it came to the prayer counselling. Yet bit by bit I got stronger. I was so weak that I was not strong enough to cope with what it would take to get me out of the situation I was in. Once I was strong enough to cope with the challenge of moving forwards He organised that for me as well. After that I have moved on from strength to strength with His help.
Can you do exploits without God’s help? I have not been able to do. So many times and so many things that thank you seems to be too small a thing to say.