Todays readings.. Deuteronomy 12, Ecclesiasties 5, Acts 2
“EVERYONE WHOM THE LORD CALLS TO HIMSELF”
What sort of person is the Lord seeking to call? As we completed reading Peter’s speech on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 today this familiar question surfaced again. It was a remarkable speech before this great crowd intrigued to hear all these Galileans speaking in their own languages.
Peter quoted from two different Psalms and the prophet Joel to show that the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, their real Messiah, had been foretold. Of course we only have the essential kernel of his speech, as the record says, “and with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them saying, ‘Save yourselves from this crooked generation.’ ” [v.40]
All generations are ‘crooked’ to differing degrees – but today we live in one that is extremely so! Now, did all those who heard Peter save themselves? Peter had previously said, “the promise is for you and your children and for all who are afar off, everyone one whom the Lord calls to himself” [v.39].
This was the promise that was made to David; Peter had quoted his Psalm [v.28] “”You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence” Back to our question, did all those who heard Peter act to save themselves? Verse 41 tells us, “So all those who received his word were baptised.”
It is essential for those who hear (or read) to receive into their hearts the word, realizing what it means for them personally – and so be motivated to act. We are reading in Deuteronomy of those who heard Moses final stirring messages before he died – they received his words and so entered the promised land and were faithful in their lives.
The initial effect on those who received Peter’s words and were baptised was that they “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayers” [v.42]. This is still the effect on those who perceive and receive wonder of the inspired scripture message.
Our thoughts then go to those most moving words in Hebrews, “let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering … all the more as you see the day approaching.” [Ch. 10 v.22,23,25] convinced, in faith, we are among those “whom the Lord calls to himself.”