Today’s Reading: Obad 1–21, Acts 11:19–12:25, Job 21:17–34
Today’s Theme: God Answers
Today’s theme looks at the way God powerfully answers our prayers, even sending angels to deliver His people or judge the enemy. This should encourage our faith as we pray.
Success will not save you
Though you soar aloft like the eagle, though your nest is set among the stars, from there I will bring you down, declares the LORD. (Obadiah 4, ESV)
Success and affluence in this world are no protection from the judgement of God.
On the day that you stood aloof, on the day that strangers carried off his wealth and foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem, you were like one of them. (Obadiah 11, ESV)
Their sin was one of omission, they did not try to help when Israel was attacked.
We have a duty to speak up against injustice and to help our brothers in the Lord.
Nations will be judged
For the day of the LORD is near upon all the nations. As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your own head. (Obadiah 15, ESV)
Entire nations will come under judgment as mentioned in Matthew 24/25.
Jesus will reign
Saviors shall go up to Mount Zion to rule Mount Esau, and the kingdom shall be the LORD’s. (Obadiah 21, ESV)
The reign of Jesus at the second coming.
Christianity is for Jewish people
Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. (Acts 11:19, ESV)
This was a major thrust in the first Church, thousands of Jews were saved across the known world. This alone speaks against the claim that Christianity is inherently anti Jewish.
One of the main reasons Jews do not accept Jesus as Messiah is because they say nothing has changed and the kingdom is not here. As Christians we need to be able to explain that the Old Testament rightly understood, spoke of the Messiah coming in two stages. First as a suffering servant and later as a reigning king, this is what the scattered church explained when they spoke the word to the Jewish world.
Be steadfast in purpose
When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. (Acts 11:23–24, ESV)
We must encourage one another to stay faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose.
and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians. (Acts 11:26, ESV)
In the midst of God’s great work in Antioch we are first given the name our religion would come to be known by “Christian” which means “Christ’s adherents, those who belong to, or are devoted to Christ (YBD).”
Give according to your ability
So the disciples determined, every one according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers living in Judea. (Acts 11:29, ESV)
This is how we should give to the Lord’s work and charity.
Pray together in unity
So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church. (Acts 12:5, ESV)
This is one of the greatest encouragements for us to pray with earnest, heartfelt faith in God in unity as a church.
Rescued by Angels
And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands. (Acts 12:7, ESV)
This is awesome, an angel was sent to rescue Peter. We can pray this for those wrongly imprisoned in the suffering church that God would send angels to deliver them too.
God’s powerful answer
When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.” (Acts 12:11, ESV)
Despite the plans of the government (Herod) or the religious establishment (Jews), God was able to set His minister Peter free to do His will by sending a powerful angel to rescue him.
These angels have amazing powers, like the Bible tells us they are ministering spirits. Now notice the people were not praying for God to use angels, they were just praying to God and God chose to use an angel to answer the prayer.
1st century misunderstanding
They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is his angel!” (Acts 12:15, ESV)
A misunderstanding of the afterlife from the first century. The reality is that we do not become angels when we die, angels are a separate creature entirely from man.
God actually answers, believe it
But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. (Acts 12:16, ESV)
We must have faith that God will actually answer our prayers.
Angels used for judgement
Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last. (Acts 12:23, ESV)
Again an angel is involved, but this time it is for judgement for not giving glory to God.
But the word of God increased and multiplied. (Acts 12:24, ESV)
Here is the awesome victory of God in the midst of all the tension and hostility, the Word of God proclaimed “The Gospel” increased and spread. The church was growing by God’s mighty power and the forces of man could not contend with the purpose of God.
Lord may Your word increase and be multiplied in our nation.
Who can teach God?
Will any teach God knowledge, seeing that he judges those who are on high? (Job 21:22, ESV)
No one can teach God anything. As fallen man we often think we have a better opinion or perspective on things and then try to reinterpret the Bible to fit our own standards of right and wrong… this is folly.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.