I’ve been spending time in the book of Acts lately. I’m getting ready for a fall sermon series from this book. I also am going through the book, chapter by chapter at Simply Worship, our Sunday evening service.
Last night at Simply Worship we talked about Gamaliel. We know two things about Gamaliel: He was Paul’s teacher in the intricacies of Judaism (Acts 22:3) and he is the one who spoke some wise words that proved true in Acts, chapter 5.
The setting is that the Christians were being persecuted. They were ordered not to speak of Jesus. They answered that they would obey God, not man, thank you very much. The Jewish rulers were furious. “When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them.” That’s when Gamaliel spoke up. He said, “Keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan is of men, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!”
The chapter ends with the Christians being beaten, ordered once again not to speak of Jesus, and once again they choose to obey God, not man. “And every day in the temple and at home they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.”
As it turned out, Gamaliel was right. Christianity could not be stopped. The worse the persecutions, the more the church grew. Because it was of God.
Here’s my thought to ponder for today: Where is God at work in the world today? Wherever that is, that’s where we need to be. God’s not interested in blessing what we are doing unless what we are doing is consistent with what God is doing. Our plans, in the long run, will amount to nothing. God’s plan, in the long run will prevail. So let’s stop asking God to bless our plans. A more worthy prayer is that we might be a blessing to further God’s plan.