Here in Acts 4 Israel’s ungodly leaders threatened Peter and John telling them they were no longer to preach about Jesus (vv. 17-18). Instead of making them and the other disciples afraid, as John MacArthur says, “it exhilarated them.” Though God may allow men to criticize or persecute us at times, we can rejoice in the fact that He will turn it to our good and His glory at the right time!
1 Chronicles 3 & 4
Exhilarated by Persecution
When People Plot Vain Things
Once again I’m amazed at how often our Old and New Testament readings fit together. (See today’s reading in Psalm 76.7-12.) Remember, it is all one continuous story written by the same Author! Should we be surprised?!
The disciples even quote an Old Testament passage here, (Ps. 2.1-2):
“Why did the nations rage,
And the people plot vain things?
The kings of the earth took their stand,
And the rulers were gathered together
Against the LORD and against His Christ.”
Here in Acts 4 the ungodly leaders of Israel threatened Peter and John telling them they were no longer to preach about Jesus (Acts 4.17-18). Instead of making them and the other disciples afraid, as John MacArthur says, “it exhilarated them.” They just had a prayer meeting!
Verse 24, 29, 30, “So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said. ‘Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them.’ … Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.'”
Verse 33 was the result:
“And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.”
Just as the psalmist said, “Surely the wrath of man shall praise You.”
We, too, should be encouraged when someone rages against the One True God or against us because of our faith, knowing that in the end even the wicked will bring glory to God because of His ultimate triumph. And even now, we should pray and ask God how we can bring Him glory in the midst of our difficulties and watch as He turns them around for good (Rom. 8.28).
Today’s Other Readings:
The Tribe of Judah
1 Chronicles 3 & 4:
The chronicler continues the genealogical record, giving special emphasis to the tribe of Judah because it’s the tribe through which Christ would come.
Our Good & God’s Glory
Verse 8, “He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; he who keeps understanding will find good.”
When we acquire, and then walk in, God’s wisdom, we not only please Him and bring Him glory, but we are doing the thing that is best for us. Our good and His glory are always connected.
The Wrath of Man Turned to Praise
Verse 10, “Surely the wrath of man shall praise You; with the remainder of wrath You shall gird Yourself.”
Though God may allow men to rage against Him and His children for a season, He will deal with it in His time.
He allowed Goliath to stand day after day and rage against Him and His people, then raised up a shepherd boy who came against him in the name of the Living God with only a slingshot, so He alone would receive the glory.
Sennacherib raged against and threatened Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem, calling their God impotent and unable to help them (2 Kings 18 & 19). But when Hezekiah prayed, “Incline Your ear, O LORD, and hear; open Your eyes, O LORD, and see; and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God” (Is. 37.17), the Angel of the Lord killed 185,000 of his troops and sent him packing. Later, he was killed in the temple of his false god by his own sons!
And in the end, although He will allow Satan to create havoc for a while, one day soon every knee will bow and every tongue shall give Him praise (Rom. 14.11 NASB).
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Does this sound like you? “Troubling thoughts flood my mind. I lie in bed alone, beseeching God on behalf of my three children. The tears come as I wonder why the Lord seems so far away and why prayers remain unanswered. Life seems so unfair. Why is it so hard? In the “depths of despair” I know I have a choice to make. Am I going to allow these feelings to destroy me?”