Have you wondered if God is ever amazed? And if so, what kind of things do you think amaze Him?
In my searching the Scriptures I have found only two times where we are literally told that God had that kind of reaction to something. One is in the Old Testament and other one is recorded in the New Testament gospels.
It is significant to note that in both cases God’s amazement or astonishment was related to the issue of intercession. Intercession as Biblically defined is a type of prayer, often followed up by action, that protects someone in peril by making “up a hedge and stand[ing] in the gap before” God on their behalf. (Ezekiel 22:30 KJV) See the article “Praying a Hedge of Protection.”
Here then are the only two times recorded when God is amazed:
1. When He Cannot Find an Intercessor! – The prophet Isaiah in chapter 59 is recounting the iniquitous condition of Israel and the fact that no one is calling for justice or pleading their case with integrity, i.e. interceding. (vs. 2-4) In recounting their sin he finally declares: “The Lord saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no justice. He saw that there was no man, and wondered (literally was “amazed” or “astonished”) that there was no one to intercede; then His own arm brought Him salvation, and His righteousness upheld Him.” (15b-16 NIV)
We know from this passage that Isaiah is speaking prophetically here of the coming of Jesus, the Messiah, who would willingly suffer a substitutionary death for the salvation of the world, and who now ever lives to make intercession. (Hebrews 7:25)
2. When He Finds a Faith-Filled Intercessor! – In Jesus’ encounter with the Roman Centurion who came to Him on behalf of his servant we see the only other time in Scripture where God is amazed. In this case, a non-Jew comes to Jesus interceding with these simple words of faith “just say the word and my servant will be healed.” (Luke 7:7) After the centurion proceeds to explain his understanding of how authority works, Jesus “was amazed at him and turning to the crowd following Him said “I tell you, I have not found such great faith, even in Israel.” (Luke 7:9 NIV)
There is a valuable lesson to be learned from these two illustrations of God’s amazement. This side of the cross it is not only preferable, but also possible to amaze God more by our intercession than by our lack thereof. The fact is that through the cross Jesus appeased the Father’s amazement, as recorded in Isaiah, for the want of an intercessor. That appeasement now enables and empowers all of us who are recipients of His redemptive grace to amaze Him instead by becoming faith-filled intercessors ourselves.
Not unlike the centurion, each of us as believers has the great privilege daily to come to Him in prayer, interceding with authority on behalf of others. And in so doing, we like the centurion, can cause Jesus to marvel at our intercession and be expectant for His answers to be released.
May I encourage you to avoid amazing God for the wrong reason by seeking to amaze Him for the right reason?
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