Thursday, July 16, 2015

Thursday, July 16th: Psalms 16-17, Acts 12 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Psalms 16-17; Acts 12

So many truths in Psalm 16...

God is our refuge (16:1)
God alone is truly good and is enough (16:2)
We find true satisfaction in God (16:5-6)
God is the source of wisdom (16:7)
God is our stability (16:8)
God is our source of joy (16:9)
God is our strength and the hope of our resurrection (16:10)

In Psalm 17 David prays a prayer of lament, considering himself unjustly accused of wrong.  This is a prayer of vindication and it ends in triumph - anticipating the eternal presence of God for the faithful.

In Acts 12 we see the miraculous rescue of Peter contrasted against the death of James, the brother of John and disciple of Jesus (not James the brother of Jesus who is referred to in v17).

Of course, the question comes up - why was Peter rescued when James was not?

Clearly, we don't know the answer to that question.

But we do know some things.

We know that God will allow evil and man's evil choices for a time.
We know that eventually God will see that justice is done.
We know that our life of pain and suffering is temporary and that eternity will be filled with such joy that is beyond compare.
We know that God never abandons us, even during times of trial or persecution.
We know that God has promised to work all things together for good for those who love Him - sometime in this life, always in the next.
We know that God loves us, and He suffers alongside us when we hurt.
We know that God is sovereign.
We know that God is good.
We know that God will act to glorify His name.

It is interesting to note the difference between the two imprisonments.  When James is put in prison, it doesn't appear that the church is overly concerned.  After all, in Acts 5 other apostles were arrested but miraculously released.  Perhaps they weren't overly concerned and were certain that James would be released as well.  Imagine the shock and devastation when they heard about his death.  Things were certainly different when Peter was arrested.  The church immediately realized that God was Peter's only hope and prayer their only weapon.  And yet, they prayed with little faith - not even acknowledging the very answer on their doorstep.  Yet, God honoured their small faith and answered their prayer.  Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!

V5 is interesting to note - So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.

Could God have rescued Peter without prayer?  Of course!  But sometimes, as James (the brother of Jesus) wrote in James 4:2, You do not have, because you do not ask.

Church - we have to ask!  Truly, God is our only hope, prayer is our only weapon, and we must wield it!

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Psalms 18-19; Acts 13:1-25


Pamela said...

Great thoughts.

I couldn't help but think about our recent passages that have talked about how some people flourish even though they walk in sin and we sometimes wonder why that is so. Today, I thought about those two soldiers that were put to death after Peter escaped from jail. They had no control over that rescue and yet they were punished with their life. We don't know why some who are "innocent" pay a cost that is undeserving. Maybe they chose the wrong profession!

Conrad said...

Good points Tammy.

I found it interesting too, Pamela, that the two guards were executed for doing no wrong. Especially because Herod would have also cross examined them first.

King Herod's weakness was exposed once again by wanting to gain favour and please the Jews by arresting Peter.

"Apart from you, I have no good thing." We all have weaknesses just as Herod, and we need to cling to God and seek his counsel.