Archive for December 18th, 2007

Why’d You Do That to Me?

Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

Today’s scripture: Acts 21:1-16 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Ben Lamb):

Have you ever been “set up” by someone? Having that happen by a stranger would be bad enough, but what if it happened to you by your best friend, or. . . what if it were done by God?

In some ways, today’s passage could give such an impression. “Through the Spirit they [the group of disciples whom Paul and his companions were visiting] told Paul not to go on to Jerusalem.” Here it sounds as if the Holy Spirit is trying to avert some potential problem for Paul. If I were Paul, I’d be thinking, “Yippee! No dangerous Jerusalem for me. I’ll enjoy seven well-deserved days of festivities here in Tyre.”

Then, when Paul gets to Caesarea, the Holy Spirit lets the other sandal drop. Paul is instructed to go to Jerusalem where he’ll get rounded up and handed over to some unfriendly folks. It’s probably best that I wasn’t in Paul’s place. I’d be yappin’ something about, “This isn’t fair. First you save my hide by keeping me out of a place. Just one week later, you tell me to trot myself into that very same place. Plus, you even tell me about the inhospitable reception I’m going to get. Is this the thanks I get for being a faithful servant all these years? Hey, look, if you’re thinking about the death of my career — literally — I’d rather get a going-away party and a gold sundial.”

Paul’s attitude was better than mine would have been. He:

1. Gently chastised his hosts for trying to persuade him to disobey the Holy Spirit — “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart?”

2. Professed his steadfast determination to do God’s will — “I am ready not only to be bound but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”

3. Silenced and influenced his well-meaning detractors — “. . .we remained silent except to say, ‘The Lord’s will be done’.”

What’s going to happen to Paul later on in Acts? Stay tuned for further developments. What’s going to happen to me later on in life? I need to stay tuned (to Jesus’ teachings and the Holy Spirit’s guidance) for further (spiritual) developments.

Thought for the day: God is able to handle the future without any backseat driving from me.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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