Acts 5:34,35,38,39—A Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law who was respected by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered the men to be taken outside for a little while He said to them, “Men of Israel, be careful about what you’re going to do to these men . . . And now, I tell you, stay away from these men and leave them alone. For if this plan or this work is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even be found fighting against God.” So they were persuaded by him.
Peter and several other apostles were thrown into jail by the high priest and the Sadducee party. They were intent on stopping them from preaching to the people about Jesus. But God sent an angel to release them from prison and instructed them to go and stand in the temple complex and teach the people about their lives in Christ. The religious leaders discovered they were not in prison and had the temple police bring them back to them without using force so as not to incite the people’s wrath. Then they reminded the apostles that they had ordered them not to teach in Jesus’ name. Peter and his mates replied, “We must obey God rather than men” (5:29). Peter then reminded them that they had murdered Jesus but God had exalted Him as Savior and as One who could grant repentance to Israel and forgiveness for sin. The religious leaders were so enraged that they wanted to kill them. It was at this moment that Gamaliel stepped up and gave his sage advice.
Our time is not so different. Increasingly in this nation founded with freedom and the right to worship, we face those in power who are enraged by Biblical standards and who would love to destroy any who worship the Lord and who refuse to embrace their twisted ideology. History shows clearly that unless God intervenes, nations do not get better over time—they decline. As America slides down a pernicious slope, followers of Jesus will increasingly be targeted for their beliefs and accused of being impediments to growth.
Our response is simple. We possess the spiritual authority to say with confidence, “We must obey God rather than men.” Yet it is also to be responsible in prayer. Per Paul’s instructions to Timothy we need to pray for those who are in authority, so that “we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity” (1 Timothy 2:1,2). Peter eventually lost his life standing for Christ. We too may be asked to pay the ultimate price. But God also raises up Gamaliels. Leaders who are principled and who have favor.
Gamaliel, did not recognize Jesus as Israel’s Messiah. But he did perceive that God might be working through Peter and the apostles so he chose discretion. There are leaders now who need our prayer. What is called progressive is in reality intolerant. What is touted as reform is truly an age-old play for power. When God is not hallowed, government is always manipulated at the expense of godly values. This should not surprise us. But it ought to put us on our knees. For it is there when we beseech our Father that He raises up leaders like Gamaliel, to enable seasons for modeling and expressing truth. Something to think about . . . in reveration.
Spiritual authority is the power and provision of God to invade and transform the temporal with the power of the eternal.—Francis Frangipane in The House of the Lord
©2019 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)