Friday, July 01, 2016

God's prescient word

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Acts 15:3-21

"'Known to God from eternity are all His works.'" Acts 15:18

Much of today's reading is the "minutes" of the Jerusalem Council. It was the gathering of the first century apostles and elders to discuss what should be their official position on Gentiles and circumcision.

Luke reports "much dispute." Then Peter takes the floor. He gives his pro-Gentile point-of-view, concluding with, "'So God ... made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith'" Acts 15:8,9.

Barnabas and Paul speak next, "… declaring how many miracles and wonders God had worked through them among the Gentiles" - Acts 15:12.

Then James gets up. He recalls a scripture that may have puzzled him in the past. It's God, speaking through the prophet Amos and seems to say that the Almighty Himself accepts the Gentiles: "'… Even all the Gentiles who are called by My name...'" (Acts 15:16,17 emphasis added, compare Amos 9:11,12).

After quoting the scripture, James makes this profound statement: "'Known to God from eternity are all His works'" - Acts 15:18.

It's like he's saying, God foresaw all this. The proof that His plan is to accept the Gentiles is found in this prophetic passage which, up to now we didn't know what to do with, but at last understand. ("'God said it and now he's doing it. It's no afterthought; he's always known he would do this!'" - Acts 15:18 MSG).

I believe that through the centuries God's word remains a truthful, reliable witness to His works, though sometimes outside the realm of that day's experience.
  • I wonder, for example, what those students of scripture did with Isaiah 40:22 ("It is He who sits above the circle of earth…") when everyone knew the earth was flat. 
  • Or how did those reading Revelation before the invention of modern mass communication imagine passages like Revelation 11:9 ("Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies…") ever being possible? 
  • Yet now we know that the Bible is accurate in describing the world as round, and that worldwide viewing of current events is not only possible but happens all the time.

And so I believe God's word will, finally, prove itself trustworthy in every category, even the passages which we don't now understand and for which there is not a current "scientific" explanation. For the omniscience of God is reflected in His prescient word.

PRAYER: Dear Father, thank You for Your word, which has proven itself trustworthy again and again and which I believe reflects truth and reality. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked MSG are taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

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