Saturday, April 11, 2015, 5:00 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Believe Him.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Acts 4 (quoting vv. 23-31 NIV).
Bold and Courageous
After Peter had just been instrumental in the healing of a lame beggar, all in the power of the name of Jesus Christ, and by faith in him, he preached the message of the gospel of our salvation. He told those listening to him that they needed to repent of their sins, and turn to God so that their sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. He told them that Jesus Christ was sent to the Jews first to bless them by turning each of them from their wicked ways, and that this was a fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham, that through his offspring (seed – Jesus) all peoples on the earth would be blessed.
I wonder if we really get this. I hear so much talk these days about the need to “bless” people, but what they often mean is just to do some random act of kindness towards others. It is good to do good to others, but this often is being encouraged as a replacement for sharing the gospel. Yet the way in which Jesus blessed us was (and is) by turning us from our wicked ways, and by giving us new lives in Him. I am so thankful he did so!
While Peter and John were still speaking to the people, they were approached by the priests, the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees. They were greatly disturbed by what the apostles were teaching and doing in the name of Jesus. So, they seized them and put them in jail. The next day Peter and John were brought before these religious leaders of the people for questioning. Peter once again seized the opportunity to share the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ alone. The leaders then met privately and discussed among themselves what they should do with Peter and John. They wanted to stop the spreading of the gospel of Jesus Christ among the people, so they decided to warn the apostles to speak no longer to anyone in Jesus’ name. So, John and Peter were brought before them again, and they commanded them not to speak or to teach at all in the name of Jesus.
But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” ~ vv. 19-20
Why Do The Nations?
On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:
“‘Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the Lord
and against his anointed one.’
In this instance, I don’t believe that Jesus’ followers were questioning his sovereignty nor were they asking God to give them understanding as to why they had to go through what they were going through. They were quoting from Psalm 2. The question posed had an obvious answer. The “why?” in this case was not really intended to be answered. The question was not really “Why do they oppose the Lord?” but rather, “Why do they even bother to try to oppose God?” Their efforts are in vain. Man and Satan can only do what God allows them to do. God is over all, is all powerful, and no one and nothing can stand against him and win. What he opens, no one can shut, and what he shuts, no one can open. All efforts to oppose God and his purposes are futile. Humans may feel they are being successful in their efforts to come against the Lord and against his servants, but God’s purposes and plans will be accomplished despite all human efforts to oppose Him.
Yet, there may be times in our lives when our life’s situations won’t make sense, and we may seek God for understanding. Although it is not wise to do so, there also may be times in our lives when we may even question God’s plans and purposes over our lives. Or, we may be asking God for some kind of direction, because we don’t really know what to do next. It could be we also want to see that light at the end of the tunnel before we move forward, and we don’t really want to have to go through dark times in our lives when we don’t know what lies ahead or what our future holds for us, and so we may ask “Why can’t I see what the future holds?” “Why must I have to take each step by faith without seeing the next step to come?” Or, we may ask plainly, “Why must I have to suffer in this way?” Or, we may ask, “Why am I being treated this way?” or “What did I do to deserve this?”
Prayer For Boldness
Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
When we ask “Why?” we must realize that God has a purpose for everything he allows or he brings into our lives. We must also recognize that no evil forged against us can prevail. They may reject us and may even kill us for our faith and testimonies for Jesus Christ, but God’s purposes will always triumph. There was a reason Jesus had to die on that cross. Humans thought they had finished Jesus and that their problems would be solved if they got rid of him, but their problems really only began, because through Jesus’ death and resurrection, and his sending of his Holy Spirit to indwell us, his kingdom gained even more followers of Jesus Christ and the gospel only spread all the more. Their evil plot to destroy Jesus and to stop his message only served God’s purposes to bring more people to faith in Jesus Christ.
The same happened and is happening with the church. The more the church is persecuted, the more God’s people get serious about God and about spreading the gospel of salvation, and then more people come to faith in Jesus, so Jesus’ enemies’ plots against him and his followers (his servants) have only and will only backfire, because God is in control! Amen!
So, we should come confidently before the throne of grace, and we should pray, believing that God has a purpose for all that we are going through right now, and we should ask him to consider the threats against us and to enable us to speak his Word with great boldness. We should believe him for miracles in human lives, and never shrink back out of fear of opposition. In all things we should trust him, and we should follow him and do what he says, believing that he will work out all things for good (for what is best for us).
Believe Him / An Original Work / July 15, 2013
My heart cries: Lord, won’t You hear me
Seeking You for the answers
To my heartache and questions
I have concerning my life?
Speak, Lord, to me right now.
“Oh, dear one, why don’t you trust Me
With your life’s circumstances?
Give your all on the altar
In submission of your will
To My purpose for you.
“Surrender your life completely
To your Lord and your Savior.
He has all things planned for you
For His glory and honor.
He’ll work all things for good.
“Believe Him. He will fulfill all
Of His promises to you
For your life and your future.
Trust Him. Rest in His love.
He’ll give you peace from above.”