Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel,
who only does wondrous things...
Psalm 72:18 NKJV
I believe that 2016 will be a year of God’s “wonders” being displayed in the earth and in individual believer’s lives. Psalm 72:18 tells us that our God “only does wondrous things.” The Message translation says He is “the one and only wonder-working God!” That is God’s way of doing things, not in a natural, or ordinary way, but in a “wondrous” way.
The word “wonder” or “wondrous” from Psalm 72 is translated from the Hebrew word “pala” which has these meanings: to be surpassing or extraordinary; miracles; wondrously marvelous; to bring the extraordinary; to deal marvelously; to show your power.
Whatever your situation in life is at this very moment, you would most assuredly benefit from God doing extraordinary things for you, bringing miracles to pass, dealing marvelously with your circumstances and showing His power on your behalf. I believe that is His plan for 2016. But perhaps as you read this, you are thinking, “Not for me – I don’t deserve that – I wasn’t very obedient to God in 2015 – why would He do that for me?”
God does wonders out of His heart of Compassion - not because you deserve it!
The good news is that God does not work His wonders because you deserve it, but he does so motivated by a heart of love and compassion. We can see many examples of this in both the Old and New Testaments. When God called Moses to go to Egypt to lead the Israelites out of bondage, he told Moses he would do “wonders” that would convince the Pharaoh to let the people go free. He explained to Moses what motivated Him to do it in Exodus 3:7. And the Lord said: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. It was out of compassion that God did the wonders that would eventually bring the Israelites freedom from slavery in Egypt.
In the New Testament, we also see Jesus doing “wonders” because He was motivated by compassion. In Matthew 15:32-37 we read: Now Jesus called His disciples to Himself and said, “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And I do not want to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.” Then His disciples said to Him, “Where could we get enough bread in the wilderness to fill such a great multitude?” Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” And they said, “Seven, and a few little fish.” So He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. And He took the seven loaves and the fish and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitude. So they all ate and were filled, and they took up seven large baskets full of the fragments that were left.
Both the wonder of miraculous provision of food and the wonder of deliverance from injustice and slavery in Egypt, were performed by God from his heart of love, not because anyone had earned or deserved His supernatural intervention. So don’t talk yourself out of receiving God’s wonders in your life this year by saying you don’t deserve it.
These wonders are to bless you but are also for the sake of others…
God is the ultimate “multi-tasker.” When He does something in the earth, He always has multiple people on His mind. He loves to use the miracle He does in your life to bless and benefit many people. So the “wonders” that God will do for you in 2016, are to bless you – but they are also to benefit others as well. We can find examples of God’s multi-tasking wonders at work in both the Old and New Testament.
In the book of Daniel, we find the faithful man of God, Daniel, unjustly persecuted by jealous coworkers and through their deceitful plotting, he is sentenced to be thrown into a den of hungry lions. Instead of being killed and devoured by the lions, Daniel experiences the surpassing, extraordinary and miraculous power of God operating on his behalf. He explained the wonder to the king of Persia this way: My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, so that they have not hurt me… (Dan. 6:22) As much as this wonder was done to bless and save Daniel, it was also for the sake of King Dairus, who became convinced of Daniel’s God being the one true God, through witnessing the wonder God did in Daniel’s life. But this wonder had even more far-reaching impact. It resulted in the name of God being spread throughout the known world by a decree that was issued by King Darius who trumpeted the “wonder” that God had done for Daniel:
I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel. For He is the living God, and steadfast forever; His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed, And His dominion shall endure to the end. He delivers and rescues, And He works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, Who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions. (Daniel 6:26-27)
In the New Testament Gospel of John we find the wonder of Lazarus being raised from the dead. We know that this miracle blessed Lazarus and his two sisters, Mary and Martha. But Jesus was very intentional about the timing of this “wonder.” He wanted it to have maximum impact by touching the lives of those who witnessed this resurrection. Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in Him. (John 11:45) Jesus performed this wonder not only for Lazarus, but for the sake of the Jews so that they might become convinced of Jesus as the Messiah of Israel.
When God does wonders for you this year, make sure you testify of the great things He has done for you, because His wonders are for the sake of others as well as for you.
How To Prepare to Receive God's Wonders
Right before the children of Israel were to march into the Promised Land, their leader, Joshua, gave them this command: "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you." (Joshua 3:5) The word consecrate is from the Hebrew word qadash - which means to set apart, to be dedicated, purified, or to manifest God's holiness. I like to define “holiness” in this simple way: loving what God loves and hating what God hates. So if you want to consecrate yourself so you can see God’s wonders, you will want to remove anything impure out of your life. Essentially it means to get rid of anything that God hates!
Cultivate a heart of gratitude and practice continuously expressing it to God and to others. Grumbling and complaining robbed an entire generation of Israelites of receiving the "wonder" of the Promised Land that God intended for them to have!
Cast off Self-reliance - Examine your heart to be sure you are not depending on "self" to work the wonder of your own deliverance or provision. A mixture of trusting God and relying on self is poisonous and will rob you of God's wonders in your life! King Saul started out trusting God, but when the pressure was on, he relied on "self" and lost the kingdom. (1 Samuel 13:5-14) God blesses the one who looks to Him alone, trusting God completely and resting by faith in His goodness.
Enter 2016 with faith-filled expectation of the wonders that God will do!