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Posts Tagged ‘Moses’

Verses 22-23: “Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come–that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”

Want to get someone’s attention? State that you are saying something or doing something by the authority of a very respected historical figure (now, don’t do this flippantly!) In most cases, it’ll give the audience pause and consideration of you, especially if your audience respects the figure by whose authority you have referenced. Preachers and judges alike often use the phrase “by the power invested in my by…” when referencing their validation of their authority.

Paul here is continuing his defense before Agrippa by telling his own biography of how he used to persecute Christians. He continues with the details of his conversion by Jesus Christ on the Damascus road; he sums up the narrative of his history by telling Agrippa that he was “not disobedient to the heavenly vision”, but went on to proclaim the Good News everywhere. He declared it those locally around them, then hit the road to witness abroad. Again, he justifies what he is doing; he presents that the Jews have tried to kill him over this. And what he does is “saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come”. In effect, you could say Paul is saying that “they want to kill me over the very things Moses and the prophets said…so what have I done wrong?” No good Jew would go against the teaching of Moses and the Old Testament prophets.

So, Paul has set up his foundation for his defense; now he has built up the walls to fortify his argument. Get ready as he puts the roof on next!

More to come.

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Verse 9: “And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.””

I had a good friend who was a pastor of a local Baptist church. This pastor was invited by another church, out of state, to come be their pastor. My good friend, who was a true man of God, prayed about it, and he asked me and several others to pray for him as well, for he wasn’t certain which way God was leading him. I told him I would pray for him. On the day that he and his wife were to travel and meet with this other church, I managed to get him a letter I had composed; I wanted him to read this letter on the road. In the letter, I told my friend how much I appreciated him as a pastor and as my friend. I also encouraged him that, no matter which way God led, he needed to follow the Lord’s will for his life. I knew my friend wanted to be in God’s will above all else. I told him I wouldn’t pray for him to be out of God’s will, but to know His will, beyond all matter of doubt. To end the letter, however, I did ask my good friend what side of the road he wanted me to put the “burning bushes” on, so he would take that as a sign to stay! Now, I meant that humorously, and I knew my pastor friend would take it humorously as well…the “burning bush” being the sign that God showed Moses, to demonstrate His power and His authority, and so that Moses would know it was indeed the Lord talking to him.

Paul and Silas were in the midst of the second missionary journey. They had intended to go to certain areas, but as the Scripture passage records, the Holy Spirit prevented them from going to certain areas. Then Paul has a vision of a man from Macedonia imploring him to come there. Again, it is God guiding Paul, directing his paths, keeping him from going certain ways and supernaturally guiding him to where He wanted him. Paul was sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading: the Bible doesn’t say how the Spirit prevented him…maybe it was another vision, maybe it was what we might call a circumstance that was God-ordained to detour Paul (I’ve heard those called “God-incidences”). Whatever form they took, Paul knew that God was giving him the signs of where He wanted him.

Like I kidded with my friend above, you need to be on the lookout for the signs God puts in your path to guide you. It might not be signs during a physical journey, but a direction in your spiritual path that God wants you to take heed of. We “follow the map” through prayer, through Bible study, and through seeking God’s direction daily in our lives. If you do these things, it becomes easy for God to send us those signs. We won’t be like the poor clueless folks in Bill Engvall’s comedy routine, “Here’s your sign!”

Have a blessed day in the Lord!

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Verses 35-37: “This Moses whom they rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’ is the one God sent to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the Angel who appeared to him in the bush. He brought them out, after he had shown wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness forty years. This is that Moses who said to the children of Israel, ‘ The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear.’”

In December 2008, Auburn fans were waiting to see who the university would hire to replace the recently-resigned Tommy Tuberville as head football coach. I first got word at a Sunday School Christmas party as a friend of mine had been catching the latest news. A lot of alumni were expecting a “big-name” hire…and my friend told me that they hired…Gene Chizik. I must admit, it took me some minutes after saying, “Who?”; I was reminded that he had once been Tuberville’s defensive coordinator, but was recently at Iowa State. I wasn’t alone in my confusion; I heard from several fans I knew that they were perplexed that Chizik was going to be “the man” to coach my alma mater’s football team. In the day and age of universities trying to get the “big name”, some weren’t satisfied with the hiring of Chizik, who just finished that year at Iowa State with a 2-10 record. Yet, not 2 years later, he was the head coach of Auburn’s BCS national championship win over the University of Oregon. Everyone was riding high now that Chizik was indeed “the man”. For the record, he was fired after only 4 seasons.

The point I was trying to make was that, although a former successful assistant at Auburn, some folks didn’t like him at first as the choice for head coach. Stephen is reminding the Sanhedrin, in the history lesson he’s giving them, that Moses, God’s man to lead Israel, at first wasn’t accepted by Israel either! Moses even told them that a Prophet would come from the lineage of Israel, and that the people better listen! Now…who do you think he was referring to? Hint: the council didn’t like Stephen’s analogy! The answer, of course, is Jesus Christ.

What if you knew that you were about to deliver the last message you’d ever speak…what would you say?

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Verse 13: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”–”

I love to play board games with my family and friends. All games, of course, have rules. It has often bemused me (between chuckling and rolling my eyes) to see my sons play a game they made up, and then make up rules on the fly! Especially if the one making the rules is losing! (I think I remember seeing Calvin and Hobbes do something like this in the comic strips!)

We went to the Lego store down at Disneyworld during a vacation once; I purchased a small Lego game called Ramses’ Return, a sequel game to Ramses’ Pyramid, I think. Once you “assemble” the game (remember it’s made of Lego’s) and learn the rules, you can play it. What is neat is that the Lego makers of the game encourage the players to add rules for variety (but write them down, of course!). My sons and I each assembled customized Lego figures down at the store and bought them. So, I added one of my custom figures as a “roll the dice” helper. If the mummy lands in your area while you have some of the treasures that you’re trying to escape with, you get sent back to the beginning and lose that treasure. I added a heroic bionic archaeologist (don’t laugh, this is my Lego character, I created him! 🙂 ) that, if you roll the right color, will save you from the mummy and help you keep the treasure.

Paul continues his arguments on the Judaizers’ insistence of the law by reminding them (through quotes of Scripture in Deuteronomy 27:26 and Habakkuk 2:4) that the law only punishes; it doesn’t save. Faith was always the way to justification. As the Holman Concordance on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians puts it on page 37: “The Judaizers would have been wrong in their fundamental message even if they had lived during the time of Moses, because they misunderstood the purpose and power of the law.” Christ came to take the curse of sin on Himself through His sacrifice. It is only through Him that we are redeemed and free. So why add a bunch of rules that you don’t have to follow anymore? Christ has already provided the saving rescue…and through Him, you’ve “won the game”.

Have a blessed day in Him.

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Verse 6: “Even so Abraham BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.”

Not too long ago, DC Comics ran a storyline through all its major titles called DC ONE MILLION. In this plot, the future descendants of the Justice League from the 853rd century came into the present to invite the present-day Justice League to the future for a celebration. As always, there were villains, present and future, lurking in the midst to mess things up. In the future, Superman was accused of being a Bizarro clone through the devious machinations of the villains, and was on the run from the populace. He was caught by a squadron of Thanagarian elite Wingmen, under the command of Mahol Toj, who responded to the rioting. During their conversation, Superman mentioned the name of his present-day teammate Hawkman; that name was Katar Hol. The mention of the name of a legendary figure in the Wingmen’s history gave Mahol Toj pause, and he gave Superman a chance to prove he was the original, allowing both sides to help each other confront the real villain in the game (some of this research I remembered with some help from a DC wiki: http://glcorps.dcuwiki.net/w/Mahol_Toj_(DC_One_Million) )

The Judaizers were very fond of quoting the law of Moses…Paul “one-ups” them here, and mentions Abraham. Abraham was saved by faith in God, long before there was “the law”. Paul quotes Genesis 15:6 in this verse. So if Abraham didn’t need the law to be saved, why should the Galatians? It was faith in God…for Abraham, faith in God the Father; for the Galatian Christians and us today, it’s faith in Jesus Christ, God the Son, the One who took our sin punishment upon Himself, and paid a debt we couldn’t pay.

In this case…it is Who you know!

Something to think about.

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verse 6: “But even if I am unskilled in speech, yet I am not so in knowledge; in fact, in every way we have made this evident to you in all things.”

Some of the best experts I know of in certain areas, may not look like an expert, to the uninformed observer. We, as human beings, tend to judge things on how they look, which is not always correct. Some companies, for instance, won’t consider hiring you unless you have a college degree. Yet, one of the smartest programmers I ever met, got all her knowledge from on-the-job training and work. In my opinion, she is more qualified than the “skilled” applicants who have a degree.

Look at Moses; he gave God the excuse for not leading as “I can’t speak”. God said Aaron would speak for him, but you are the one I called. Paul was saying I may not be eloquent in speech, but I know what I’m talking about! To sum it up best, I remember an old saying: “God doesn’t called the qualified…He qualifies the called.”

What excuse are you giving God today?

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verse 5: “Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God.”

Look throughout the Bible at the lives of kings and rulers over Israel, and you’ll notice something. Those rulers that acknowledged and followed God, and led the nation in following God, were blessed and given much. Those that didn’t follow and acknowledge God, utterly failed miserably and would lead the country down to ruinous times. Do you think Solomon was as wise as he was on his own? No, God gave him that wisdom. Think Moses was a superhero with the power to part the Red Sea? Nope, that was God…Moses was just a tool in God’s hand.

I think about this when I look back at the Carpenters for Christ mission trips I’ve been on, and all that was accomplished due to God. I count it a blessing to be a tool in His hands!

We need to remember in this materialistic society that we live in today, that God owns it all. The old phrase “you can’t take it with you” is true; when we die, all the material “stuff” stays here. Paul is telling the Corinthians, “our adequacy is from God”. The next time you’re tempted to say “look what I did” or “look who I am”…point the way to God and say, “looked what God did” and “look who He is!”

Have a blessed day in Him!

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