Scripture: Acts 5:39-42 39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” So they took his advice, 40 and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. 42 And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.
Observations: As I read the opening statements of Exodus 23, about lawsuits, I could not help but think of the impeachment trials going on in the senate. One group is lying. One group is supporting falsehood. Whoever that groups ends up being, they will have to stand before God. God gave rules for celebrating feasts and the Sabbaths, and then laid out a plan on how He would drive out the Canaanites. The covenant was confirmed with God, and one lucky group got to sit in His presence and share a feast. How would you feel about having blood tossed on you? At first that bothered me, and then I read: “Behold the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.” (Exodus 24:8) All I could think of then was the blood of Jesus that has been spilled on each of us. It covers our sins. Then you look at the opening line of Psalm 14 which says: “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”” I can’t understand how anyone could say that looking at the world we live in. In Acts 5, the apostles were again persecuted.
Application: There were many good Scriptures today. It is truly hard to focus on just one but we again saw persecution. Today many Christians are facing persecution. Yesterday I prayed for holy boldness. Today is the same, but added here is that they rejoiced to be worthy to suffer dishonor for Jesus. Even though they were told to stop teaching in that name, they went to public places every day and preached the Good News. Jesus had said that if you silenced the people, the rocks would cry out. I believe that.
Prayer Lord, here in the United States we have it so much easier than many around the world who are being persecuted for their faith. But I have no doubt that it is going to get worse here the way things are going. May we be worthy to suffer dishonor for your name. I pray this in the precious name of Jesus Christ.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Exodus 25-27; Acts 6
Scripture: Psalm 12:1-2 “Save, O Lord, for the godly one is gone; for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man. 2 Everyone utters lies to his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.
Observations: In Exodus God laid out many laws that we no longer pay attention to. Think of human trafficking. In Exodus 21:16 it says “Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him shall be put to death.” We fight the death penalty these days. Then verse 17: “Whoever curses his father or his mother shall be put to death.” If that was still in effect we would be missing many people whom I know personally. God gave very specific rules about how to handle people who got out of order. He gave those to purify and protect His people. Sometimes I believe people need that type of structure, and they need that ‘fear of the Lord’. In Acts 4, Peter and John were drug before the council for helping a lame man walk. Then the believers prayed for boldness. That should be our prayer today. We need some boldness to stand up for what is right. I like the way chapter 4 ended. It was similar to the end of chapter 2. Everything the believers had, they shared with those in need. It would be a better world if we could still do that today.
Application: The Psalm bothered my heart today. It does seem like there are fewer and fewer faithful people in the world today. I was one of the unfaithful 20+ years ago. I was far away from God. Then in March 1998 God spoke to my heart and in April of 1999 I was entirely sanctified, and I can’t go back. Oh, I make mistakes along the way, but I try to keep a short leash on those. I think what it says about lies and flattering lips is horrible, but I know many out there who think that is what it takes to get along in this world. It isn’t. We need to obey the commands of God. That means speaking the truth in love, even when it hurts.
Prayer: Lord, please fit us with your belt of truth and the shield of faith. Please give us the courage of Joshua. Please give us the boldness of the early believers. Holy Spirit be our guide. Help us to walk in the breastplate of righteousness. Amen
Tomorrow’s reading: Exodus 23-24; Psalm 14; Acts 5