“When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart [quick] and said to Peter and the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’ Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off —for all whom the Lord our God will call’” (Acts 2:37-39).
“Faith is the master, and reason the maidservant,” Martin Luther.
How would I have counseled Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? How would I have counseled Daniel when he was told not to pray? How would I have counseled the early martyrs who worshiped and believed under the threat of being thrown to the lions or set on fire? These are all tough questions, if I’m being completely honest; these questions cut me to the quick. “When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart [quick] and said to Peter and the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’ Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off —for all whom the Lord our God will call’” (Acts 2:37-39).
I pray and ask God, if I had been there that day, what counsel might I have given Abraham, concerning His command to sacrifice his son Issac? Then God kindly brings to mind that the decisions I make today already testify to the counsel I would have given. Thank God, Abraham didn’t listen to me, and that’s not an easy admission. I would have surely been a hinderance, a stumbling block, to him. “So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:16).
When there was a great famine in Israel, Elijah was not sent to any of the widows of Israel, but instead, the prophet was sent to a Gentile widow in Sidon. Like the prophets of the Old Testament, Jesus, too, was not only unappreciated by those in His hometown, but ultimately, He was rejected by Israel, and so, His message was sent to the Gentiles. “‘Truly I tell you,’ he continued, ‘no prophet is accepted in his hometown. I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian’” (Luke 4:24-27).
There may never be a good time, but there is definitely a right time, and now is the time to wake up from our slumber and stand firm. As Paul instructed the Ephesians,”Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (6:10-12). Now is the time to seek God’s counsel and not rely on our understanding. We cannot approach the throne with our minds already made up; I think that is some major idolatry. The evil one is subtle; let us be on our guard.
“But no one except Lucy knew that as it circled the mast it had whispered to her, ‘Courage, dear heart,’ and the voice, she felt sure, was Aslan’s, and with the voice a delicious smell breathed in her face” (C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader).
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