Faith Sees Past The Means, To God

King Hezekiah was dying in Isaiah chapter 38 — until God intervened.  The Lord told him through the prophet Isaiah that he would not die, but live — another 15 years.  And God did absolutely heal Hezekiah — no question about it. But :21 of that chapter also indicates that He used some MEANS to accomplish His ends: Isaiah had said, “Let them take a cake of figs and apply it to the boil, that he may recover.”  They did, and he did.  But it wasn’t the figs; it was God.

This passage in Isaiah reminds us that sometimes when we ask God to do something, He may employ some intermediate means to bring it about: some person, or circumstance, or element.  But it is no less the hand of God because He used those means.

In the previous chapter in Isaiah, God said that He would deal with the Assyrian army that was besieging the city of Jerusalem. The Bible records that God sent an angel who struck the army, and 185,000 Assyrians were dead by morning.  Historians have speculated that the army succumbed to cholera or some other wasting disease.  Was it a disease that struck the army?  The Lord could have used that means.  But if He did, it was no less His doing because of it.

In the same way there are things that happen in our time, which some might attempt to “explain away” as happening by various means — but just because a man did something, or a medicine was involved, or some “natural phenomenon” occurred, doesn’t mean that God wasn’t behind it, accomplishing His purposes.  The job of God’s people, by faith, is to perceive that it was absolutely God who did it, even if others might explain it by the “means” instead of by Him.  Faith sees past the means, to the God who used those things to accomplish his ultimate purposes.

About Shawn Thomas

My blog,, features the text of my sermons, book reviews, family life experiences -- as well as a brief overview of the Lifeway "Explore the Bible" lesson for Southern Baptist Sunday School teachers.
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