God’s constant presence is ultimately what makes the insignificant become significant. If we look through the pages of Scripture, we find time and time again God invading the ordinary and then making the ordinary into something extraordinary. It’s not that the thing itself changes; rather, whatever it is, in the midst of its ordinariness, becomes extraordinary by the virtue of the presence of God.
Jacob, when he was fleeing from the wrath of his big brother, slept on a regular old rock and had a dream of a ladder going up to heaven. He woke up and realized He was in the presence of the Lord, and that regular rock he used for a pillow became an enduring altar given to the worship of the Lord.
Moses, after spending forty years in utter obscurity and commonality as a shepherd, one day came upon a bush. It was a bush like you might see on any other hill on any other day except this ordinary bush was infused with something extraordinary—a fire that engulfed it and yet did not cause it to burn up. Moses took off his shoes in the presence of the extraordinary God.
Then God told him he would be the great deliverer the enslaved people of Israel had been praying for over the last four centuries. The instrument of that deliverance—the thing Moses would use to demonstrate the power of God—was to be a common, ordinary, shepherd’s staff.
When the prophet Elijah, during a moment of great depression, was told to go and stand on the mountain and wait for the Lord’s presence, God was not found in the mighty, loud, and majestic. Instead, the presence of the Lord came in a soft whisper.
When the Lord wanted to deliver a powerful message to His people about the nature of their covenant and the enduring love He felt for them during the days of the prophet Hosea, He did not choose to communicate it using a message in the sky. Instead, He used an ordinary marriage, complete with all the marital problems you might imagine (plus a few more that I hope you can’t), to demonstrate His extraordinary commitment to His people.
The pattern continues as you flip to the New Testament.
Michael Kelley, Boring: Finding an Extraordinary God in an Ordinary Life (Nashville: B&H, 2013).
I have just completed a series of lessons based on Michael Kelly’s book, Boring. They are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions, as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription service. For a medium-sized church, lesson subscriptions are only $10 per teacher per year. Lessons correspond with three of Lifeway’s outlines as well as the International Standard Series.