Todays readings … 2 Chronicles 32, Daniel 12, Acts 13
“BE ASTOUNDED AND PERISH”
As we proceed in reading the book of Acts we see the challenges Paul and Barnabas faced in spreading the good news about the true God and his Son Jesus; we see the kind of opposition they attracted. “Brothers, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to us has been sent the message of this salvation.” [13 v.26] How few today, “fear God”! Many do not even believe there is a God!
To those who did, Paul said, “we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus” [v.32,33] and quotes the promises in the Psalms.
To the Jews who rejected the wonder of this happening he gave a warning, “Beware, therefore, lest what is said in the Prophets should come about: “’Look, you scoffers, be astounded and perish; for I am doing a work in your days, a work that you will not believe, even if one tells it to you.'” [v.40,41] And today we can say, ‘even if it is given you to read.’
Tragically many Jews perished as Jerusalem and their Temple was destroyed. Today, the same judgement is hanging over the non-Jews – surely God is angry with them! We note that Paul said, “the Lord has commanded us, saying, “‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'”[v.47] This has happened in our days, God’s message of “salvation” has reached “the ends of the earth.’
In past generations, especially when God’s word was first available for people to read in their own language, God’s offer of “salvation” was embraced by many. But now most Gentiles have become “scoffers” – and when Jesus returns – and how close are we now (!?) to that astounding event – many Gentiles, we fear, will “be astounded and perish.”
Let us read God’s word ever more fervently – and let it ‘infect’ our hearts, so that there is the same reaction in us as when Paul’s preached to the Gentiles!
We read, when they “heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.” [v.48] May we be among the “appointed.”