A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Thursday, January 28, 2021
"The One True God"
Message summary: Today, like Paul, we urge each reader to turn from all vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them.
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"We bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them" (Acts 14:15). "For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5).
Jackline, an African reader shared a news report with us about Owobusobozi Bisaka, a man in Uganda who died earlier this week. Well, death is a universal reality and all over the world people die every day. In fact although estimates vary, each day some 150,000 people die worldwide.
But what made this man's death newsworthy is that he claimed to be god. Our reader muses, "I wonder what happens to the followers when their god dies". All throughout history there have been those who claim to be gods such as Jim Jones and David Koresh during our lifetime.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to think you were god? Now of course that's a very sacrilegious thought and hopefully we are grounded enough in sound theology to resist such a notion, though there are some among us who might act as though they were gods, masters of their own fates. They live in small worlds of their own preferences and curse the forces that oppose their rule.
The Apostle Paul wrote, "Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought" (Romans 12:3). Now that's good, solid counsel for all of us isn't it? Especially for any who may have any sort of notion that they are a god!
The tower of Babel was an attempt by men to have godlike power and they invited others to join them, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves" (Genesis 11:4).
Later in the Old Testament period Nebuchadnezzar, ruler of the Babylonian Empire, sure thought a lot more of himself than he should have. He was walking on the roof of his palace and said, "Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?" (Daniel 4:30). Daniel 4:31-37 reveals how Nebuchadnezzar was put in his proper place.
In the New Testament Herod gloated when he heard the people proclaim praise toward him, "This is the voice of a god, not of a man" (Acts 12:22). Failing to immediately give glory to God, "an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died" (v. 23).
Only a few chapters later Paul and Barnabas demonstrated a proper response to those who had a very mistaken notion that they were gods, immediately deflecting the mistaken praise and pointing to the one true God. (Normally we just use the most pertinent part of a Scripture portion but this entire selection is needed here.)
"And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, 'The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!' Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, 'Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. In past generations He allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. Yet He did not leave himself without witness, for He did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.' Even with these words they scarcely restrained the people from offering sacrifice to them" (Acts 14:11-18).
Today, like Paul, we urge each reader to turn from all vain things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and all that is in them.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, just as Barnabas and Paul refused the praise of men, we too must never glory in anything we say or do, but acknowledge and testify that all wisdom and all power is given to us from our Creator God. The only boasting that should come from our lips is that we understand and know You are our Lord who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth; that You take great delight when we exercise these virtues. Keep us humble and honest in our assessment of who we are and our acknowledgement of who You are, our Father and the Savior of the world. Amen.
See Jeremiah 9:24
Further thought on Acts 14: In Lystra Paul and Barnabas prayed for a man crippled from birth to be healed and God miraculously answered that prayer. But the crowd mistook the miracle from God to be healing power generated from the apostles and considered them to be gods sent from heaven in the form of man. Many of the heathen emperors called themselves gods, so the crowd reasoned why not celebrate these powerful men and declare them to be the newest gods? In their excitement and celebrative mood they did so and began to prepare sacrifices in Paul and Barnabas' honor.
The apostles quickly responded to the crowd by tearing their clothes. Scripture does not mention that the apostles tore their clothes when they were being reviled. They could face this without disturbance, but when they were being deified they refused to be honored as gods! If Christian workers who are used of God would remain humble and not become crowd seekers, giving all the glory and honor to Jesus, the kingdom of God would increase tenfold and the scandalous stories would diminish tenfold as well.
Here's the entire context regarding Herod: "Now Herod was angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, and they came to him with one accord, and having persuaded Blastus, the king's chamberlain, they asked for peace, because their country depended on the king's country for food. On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. And the people were shouting, 'The voice of a god, and not of a man!' 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. But the word of God increased and multiplied" (Acts 12:20-24).
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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