Tuesday, February 4

God takes the initiative

Scripture: Exodus 37-38, Psalm 19, Acts 11

Acts 11:17–18  And since God gave these Gentiles the same gift he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to stand in God’s way?” 

18 When the others heard this, they stopped objecting and began praising God. They said, “We can see that God has also given the Gentiles the privilege of repenting of their sins and receiving eternal life.”

Observation

When the early Christians were reluctant to share the gospel with Gentiles, God took matters into His own hands!  He initiated the contact with Cornelius, sending an angel with instructions.  Then God initiated the contact with Peter, giving him a vision and clear instructions.  Then God interrupted Peter’s sermon by pouring out the Holy Spirit on the Gentiles.  All God’s initiative.

When the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem heard the news, they called Peter on the carpet for breaking their Jewish traditions by visiting and even eating with Gentiles.  Peter responds by telling the story—a God story top to bottom.  Then the Jewish Christians responded by saying, “It’s a God story!  God has given life to the Gentiles.”

And that was the start of the Gentile church, and the gospel moving beyond Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).

Application

God takes the initiative more often than we realize.  We need to be looking at what is happening around us through the lens of God’s activity and purpose.  

I’m in the middle of resolving a problem at another church.  On the surface, it looks like people are acting out of hurt and anger and frustration.  But under the surface, God may be doing something that we won’t see for awhile.  I have to trust that even when I can’t see it, God is at work.  

Trust Him!

Prayer: Lord, I acknowledge that You are fully capable of doing Your work without me!  You can take the initiative and accomplish things I never dreamed of.  But I’d like to be part of what You are doing.  So help me to see Your activity, and trust You when I can’t!