A Witness to the World

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Devotional Word for Tuesday, June 16, 2020

We live in a most tumultuous time! We have the Covid-19 virus. It threatens our health; it is the occasion for unimagined societal restrictions. We have the racial unrest that has swept up people across our nation and around the world. We have the growing movement to defund or get rid of the police. And now we have added to that list the decision handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday that suddenly reads back into legislation enacted in 1964 all the sexual identities of the LGBTQ agenda and legitimizes them. This is a decision on the scale of Roe v. Wade in terms of its implications, its capacity to unleash and empower the forces of darkness. 

For all those reasons we should be thankful to God for the rich resources He has given us in His Word, the Bible. Peter and the apostles were thrust into a most hostile environment: namely, a society whose leaders had ordered the execution of the Lord Jesus. Peter and the early church, however, preached that Jesus was the Son of God, the Messiah. The societal leaders commanded them to be silent, not to speak about Jesus. Do you remember Peter’s response? It’s in Acts 5:29-32. But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you have put to death by hanging Him on a cross. He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as Prince and Savior, to grant repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.

That’s not what you would call a persuasive argument, that is, it doesn’t seek to flatter the societal leaders. Instead, it repeats the charge that they put Jesus to death, and, furthermore, the apostles are going to obey God, not the societal leaders. What happens? The leaders flogged them and ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus. [Acts 5:40] The apostles, what did they do? They went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His [Christ’s] name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ. [Acts 5:41-42]

That’s extraordinary, is it not? We should aspire to the same sort of indomitable spirit in the face of all that society throws at us. Our culture is in the midst of trying to redefine morality. The tumult we’re in, all the things mentioned at the beginning of this article, are signs of the judgment of God, indeed, are judgments from God. He is stirring up the waves of the sea, as it were. Those waves are making resounding, threatening noises all around us. They are seeking to intimidate us, much like the societal leaders sought to intimidate and silence Peter and the apostles. It didn’t work then, and it should not work now.

Like the apostles, we need to keep right on speaking and teaching and sharing with others what the Word of God declares on matters of morality and theology. There is a God, He has given us His Word, and we are witnesses to what it teaches. That’s our task; that’s what the Great Commission is all about, teaching the nations to observe – that is, to do – all that God has commanded.

How can we have the inner, moral resources to do so? How can we not be overwhelmed by the waves of societal rebellion against God that seek to engulf us? We need to draw from the same well as God’s people down through history. Psalm 112:7 says this about the man of God: He will not fear evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. 

That is how we want to react to all the tumult of our times. Tomorrow, we will look more closely at Psalms 111 and 112 to discern how that might become the response of our souls. For today, let us give thanks to God that Peter and the apostles did not cave to the pressures of societal elites or to the tumults of the crowds, but were resolute and faithful. Their faithful witness has continued down through the centuries, reaching even to us, today, June 16, 2020.

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, we call on You to help us. We hear the roarings of society. We feel the pressures of our culture. We know our weaknesses. We know our inabilities. So, we look to You, our Savior and our Lord. You have conquered all. You reign at the right-hand of the Father. You know exactly where we are. You know exactly what we’re going through. And so, we believe that even as You gave great grace to Peter and the apostles in their day, so You will give great grace to us in our day. Thank You for Your presence and Your help today. Amen.