When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.”
“How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.
Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”
Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”
John 1:47-49, NIV*
I’ve been told an Israelite’s fig tree in those days was a place of prayer. I like to imagine that whatever Nathanael’s prayer time had been that day, it was personal, intense. He meant business with God. Maybe he questioned if God really heard him, and if He’d ever send the promised Messiah.
Now something in Jesus’ words, or a look in His eye, let Nathanael know God had heard.
I’m making this up. But God does hear us, and sometimes He lets us know.
This morning after my quiet time with God, I turned on K-LOVE internet radio. Amid the friendly chatter, a lady called in to say she’d just read their Encouraging Word for the day on her Blackberry—and something in the verse spoke directly to what she’d been praying about. She knew God had heard.
I listened with half an ear until the next song began and my spirit shivered—the Newsboys’ “I Am Free” pointed right back to Isaiah 53, the Scripture I’d read twenty minutes earlier as I prayed for myself and for a friend. When the song started playing, I was typing him an email of encouragement.
Tell me God doesn’t hear prayer. The sun isn’t hot, either.
Father God, You are El Roi, the God Who Sees. Who loves us and has compassion on all He has made. Forgive our doubts when we wonder if You’ve heard us. Thank You so much for those very personal moments when You touch our individual spirits to let us know You hear.
Our song this week is “He Knows My Name,” by Tommy Walker.
*New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
I totally do not think you’re making it up about Nathaniel under the fig tree. I’ve thought the same thing. I think he was talking to God there that day and it was a significant prayer time for him. I think he was saying something like, “God, you know I’m a guileless man. I’m just being honest with you here. But I’m plain tired of waiting for your promise of a Messiah to come true. You’re going to have to encourage me because I’m at the end of my faith about this.” (Or something like that.) I think he knew God was listening to him and that God was the only one who could hear him. So when Jesus repeated his prayer back to him almost word for word (Okay. I’m imagining it, but it makes sense.) it was a sign that Jesus was God. So amazing. I love it.
It does make sense, Ginny. I can’t think of an example, but I’ve felt that “wow” sensation when you see God answering it back in a way only He could.
That’s exactly how it could have been for Nathaniel.
The kind of thing you describe has happened to me times without number. Often, it’s such a surprise, and so personal, it brings tears. A friend calls these ‘God winks.’ I love the song you chose too – it’s beautiful!
“God winks” — I love it. They’re startling, and they’re often so personal that we can’t explain them to anyone else. But we know.