Date: Saturday, July 13
Scripture: Acts 11:1-18
Verse: If then God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God? (Acts 11:17)
From time to time we need to defend our actions. In an extreme case we might need to do that before a judge. Other times our boss may call us into her office to explain a decision, or our spouse might ask us why we bought ice cream for the kids.
Peter is called before “the apostles and the believers,” Jewish leaders of the Christian movement. It must have felt like being called to the principal’s office. They have been criticizing Peter for baptizing Cornelius and his Gentile friends. It didn’t make sense to them, like we have been reading all week how it didn’t make sense to Peter either. After his explanation of the events leading up to the baptisms, Peter delivers a great line, “who was I that I could hinder God?” (Acts 11:17).
There are times when we are tempted to defend God. We are asked by a skeptic to explain why bad things happen to good people, why one person’s home in Black Forest burned while a neighbor’s did not, why there is evil in the world and innocent suffering, and so much more. For many of us, our instinct is to grasp for explanations, even if we have the very same questions. Other times we might feel the need to defend a good circumstance as a God-thing – like when everyone chips in to to get food and other resources to firefighters and victims of the fire. Those actions might be taken by government agencies and supported by non-Christians, but they sure seem to still be of God.
When that happens, I hope I can use Peter’s line, “who [am] I that I could hinder God?” God’s actions is far bigger than we can imagine, his love far deeper than ours, and his patience longer than we can conceive. We long to participate in what God is doing to bring his kingdom in the world, but we also realize we are not the keepers of the Spirit. God will do what God will do. We won’t hinder God, we simply need to get on board where he is already at work in the world around us.
Prayer: Show me, gracious God, where you have called me to serve in your name. Amen.
Action: Make a donation (time, money, and/or supplies) to one of the agencies bringing recovery to Black Forest, or another area of need.
Respond: When have you found yourself defensive of something you have done? Answer by clicking “Leave a Comment” below. If you are receiving this via email, click the title at the top of the email to take you to the devotion webpage where you can leave a comment.