Signs as Confirmation, not Contradiction

[Peter] became hungry and was desiring to eat; but while they were making preparations, he fell into a trance.
–Acts 10:10

This week, we’re looking at six biblical principles about supernatural signs and circumstances.

Principle number three: after Pentecost, supernatural signs were generally given to people who weren’t looking for them. For example, think about the story of the Roman centurion Cornelius. He loved God, but he didn’t know Jesus Christ. So God appeared to Cornelius in a vision and said, “Send for a man named Simon, who is also called Peter” (Acts 10:5). The next day, Peter was getting ready to eat when he suddenly received a vision about taking the gospel to the Gentiles. He wasn’t looking for a sign; he was hungry! But that was God’s pattern after Pentecost: He gave signs to people who weren’t seeking them.

Principle number four: in the Bible, signs were given as a confirmation, not a contradiction, of God’s will. Years ago, I met with a man who was planning to leave his family. He wasn’t fulfilled in his marriage, so he was going to divorce his wife and marry somebody else. I said to him, “Have you asked, ‘What does God think about my decision?’”

He answered, “The other day, I was driving around town, praying for God to give me direction about my marriage. As I approached a stoplight, I said, ‘God, if You want me to go through with this divorce, let the light stay green. But if You turn it red, then I’ll know I’m supposed to stop and return to my family.’ The light stayed green, so I know I’m in God’s will.”

Friend, God is not going to say one thing in His Word and then tell you to do something else. Don’t ask God for a sign that would lead you to do something that contradicts His Word. For example, there’s no need to pray, “Lord, if You want me to end this extramarital affair, have that person break up with me. Then I’ll know it’s Your will.” Or, “Lord, if You want me to start tithing, have my boss give me a raise.” God has already given instructions about those areas in His Word.

Think about the story of Gideon. God was very gracious in giving Gideon sign after sign that he should attack the Midianites. But God had already told Gideon what he needed to do. And frankly, even if nothing had happened when Gideon asked for a sign, he should have marched forward anyway because God had commanded him to do so. In the Bible, supernatural signs never contradicted God’s will.

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Today’s devotion is adapted from “Putting Out the Fleece without Getting Fleeced” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.

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