He Will Do Unlooked-For Things
What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has repaired for those who love him.(1 Corinthians 2:9)
As we wait upon God, things that the human heart cannot conceive- what “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, either have entered into the heart of man”(1 Corinthians 2:9)- will be revealed to us. These things, Paul says (2:10) are the things the Holy Spirit is to reveal.
Paul is quoting Isaiah 64:4. The previous verses in Isaiah refer to the low state of God’s people. Prayer has been poured out: “Look down from heaven” (63:15); “Why hast thou…..hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants’ sake” (63:17). And still more urgent, Oh that thou wouldst rend the heavens, that thou wouldst come down…..as when the melting fire burneth…..to make thy name known to thine adversaries” (64:1-2)
Then follows the plea from the past: “When thou didn’t terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence” (64:3). And now faith has been awakened by the thought of things “we looked not for”- for He is still the same God. For those “that waiteth for him,” God has prepared what “men have not heard, nor perceived by ear, neither hath the eye seen”(64:4).revealed them
God alone knows what He can do for His waiting people. As Paul expounds and applies it: “The things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:11). “But God hath revealed then unto us by his Spirit”(verse 10).
The need of God’s people, and the call for His intervention, are as urgent in our day as in Isaiah’s time. What is to be done? We must wait upon God. We must desire and believe, we must ask and expect, that He will do unlooked-for things. The wonder-doing God, who can surpass all our expectations, must be the God of our confidence.
It seems as we read the Bible that we find God doing incredible things at a time when they were least expected and in a way not conceived by humans. Can you imagine the hearts of Adam and Eve when they heard the sentence passed upon them for their disobedience? I’m sure they must have been horrified and at that moment saw no way beyond death. Then God did the unexpected. Through the great display of His mercy and revealing His future plans, He sacrifices innocent animals and covers the sins of these two humans. He makes known to them that justice requires a life for a life but that He would provide the ultimate sacrifice of the Only Begotten Son.
Can you imagine Abraham and Sarah who have waited for years for a child. Though God has repeated His promise on a number of occasions, they have yet to see it come to pass and now they are beyond the ability as humans for it to happen. Can you see the wonder on their faces as they hold Issac in their arms, these 90 year olds- well beyond child bearing age? No one, even them could imagine such a thing and yet this God that does “exceedingly abundantly above and beyond anything we can think or ask” has brought it about. Can you feel the emotional roller coaster that Abraham experienced when told he must now sacrifice this son. Can you see his steps drag as they come closer and closer to the place of sacrifice? Can you see his tears falling on the bound Isaac as he prepares to plunge the knife and sacrifice this precious gift from God? Do you ever wonder if he thought, “God, I was better off not having a son and now after enjoying him, You’re asking for him back”? How his heart must have broke! The God speaks, “Stop, there’s a ram in the bush for the sacrifice.” How that dark cloud lifted and overwhelming joy must have been shared between father and son! Yet in that moment we receive the revelation that another father and son will journey up a mountain. This time the Son will be sacrificed for He is the Ram. “Eye has not seen.”
Can you see the Israelites in Egypt toiling in labor every day as slaves? Coming to believe that this is their lot in life and the destiny of their children and grandchildren. Then the night of the Passover takes place. By sacrificing a lamb and smearing its blood on the door posts and lintel, they find themselves safe from the death angel while their Egyptian masters suffer the loss of the first born son. Can you feel the surreal of gathering their belongings and beginning a journey toward freedom only to have their hearts melt in fear when they find themselves trapped as the Red Sea? Having no way to meet the challenge, they prepare themselves for captivity again. I’m sure, as Abraham, they must have thought, “We were better off continuing as slaves. At least we knew what to expect. Then the rod is lifted, the sea opens up and a way is made. No wonder they celebrated on the other side. They will face again and again obstacles but they will experience unheard of things. Water from rocks, food rained down from heaven and hordes of quail. Shoes and clothes that last 40 years in a wilderness journey. A cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night guiding them on their journey. “Ear has not heard!”
Finally, we meet Mary the little young virgin. Engaged to Joseph, not married and never intimate with a man, she is pregnant with child. Visited by an angel who reveals her cousin Elizabeth, who’s beyond normal childbearing age, will give birth to a child. She is told that she will have a child fathered by the Holy Spirit. Can you imagine her questions? How will she explain this to Joseph? What will her friends think? But beyond this is the question that she asks, “How can this be, seeing that I am a virgin? Never in the history of humanity had anything like this ever occurred. She had no precedent, no source of information. She makes the journey to Elizabeth’s home. When she comes near, the baby in Elizabeth’s womb is filled with the Holy Spirit. Who ever heard of an unborn child being filled with the Spirit? Yet we know all this occurred. “Neither has entered into the heart of man.”
Now we come to us and all that’s taking place around us. With encroaching darkness, with declining church, with evil and sinful living increasing, with crisis of pandemic, political uncertainty and many of our norms vanishing, how do we find a hope and a peace? When all hope seems lost, when the pressures of life are crushing us, when there is no conceivable approach to a solution, what shall we do? Shall we give up as I’m sure Adam and Abraham and Israel and the Jews of Jesus’ day must have? What shall we do when we come to the end of us? Someone said,”Tie a knot and hold on.” But what if the knot is slipping or our grip is weakening and we are about to plunge into the pit of despair?
We wait upon God. We wait for the God who provided the sacrifice for sinful Adam. We wait for the God who opened a 90 year old womb and brought forth a child. We wait for the God who provided the substitute sacrificial Ram in the bush. We wait for the Blood Coverer, the Sea Opener, and the Provider in the wilderness. We wait for the One born of a virgin and nailed on a cross. We wait for the stone to be supernaturally rolled away and the Conqueror of death to rise from death and the tomb. We pray for the Holy Spirit to open our eyes to see the Unseen and to touch our ears to hear the Unheard and to fill our hearts with the Unimaginable. And as we wait we trust in the God that makes all things possible and all things known to His people. We may not know how or when but we know that He will reveal to us what “eye has not seen ,nor ear heard, nor that which has not entered the imagination of the heart. So we take hope and live with expectation of what God is “preparing for us who love Him!” The best is yet to come!
Dr. John Thompson