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We often find ourselves in a situation where we have to make a choice. Sometimes those choices are simple and of little consequence like ‘Should I have mint chocolate chip or chocolate chip cookie dough?’ I mean this is an important question that must be answered, but it’s answer will have little impact. Besides with that choice, everyone knows the right answer is ‘Both!’
However, there are other choices in life that have much more deep and impacting repercussions. Early in the history of the Church, shortly after the Holy Spirit had come upon the Apostles, they were forced into such a choice. Their answer should be guidance for all of us.
They had been preaching the death and resurrection of Christ throughout Jerusalem and in the temples. This greatly frustrated the Israelite priests (especially the Sadducees who did not believe in resurrection). The arrested and imprisoned the apostles, who were later released from prison by an Angle. They returned to preaching.
It was their response to the Sadducees that should be a lesson for us. “But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.” (Acts 5:29-32)
‘We must obey God rather than men.’ How often do we find ourselves in a situation where man’s instructions seem to go against God’s? Too often these days. You would think in our country with our freedoms, we wouldn’t have the government telling us that we can’t talk about Jesus, but it happens all the time. A local High School coach has made a practice of having an after game prayer after every football game, right on the 50 yard line. Sometimes a couple players join him, sometimes a lot of players join him. View the story here.
Even if our challenges aren’t as blatant or obvious as this coach’s… we (like him) should pay attention to the example set before us in Acts 5.
What’s really most interesting in the Acts story is the end however. Along comes another priest (this time a Pharisee) and he has wise advise we should all pay attention too. He reminded them of all these other false prophets who had come and had a following. In each case, once the leader was gone, the followers eventually faded away. Since this Jesus was now dead (so they believed), he gave them this advice. “So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” (Acts 5:38-39)
So remember, we already know who wins the war. Stand strong and know that He is with you. He reminds us “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10). And Paul reminds us “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Rom 8:28)
Amen for that!