Wednesday 29 April, 2020
12 The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. 13 When they finished, James spoke up. “Brothers,” he said, “listen to me. 14 Simon[a] has described to us how God first intervened to choose a people for his name from the Gentiles. 15 The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written: 16 “‘After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, 17 that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, even all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things’— 18 things known from long ago. 19 “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. 21 For the law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”
What strikes me in this passage is how much God is the central actor in James’ understanding of what was going on.
God first intervened, and God promised to return and rebuild David’s fallen tent, and the commentary goes on from there. I am fooling myself if I think I’m the central actor in all of this. I must heed the wisdom and Spirit-led discernment of one of the founding fathers of the church. God is doing His mighty, rebuilding, intervening work in human history, and he invites me and us to be a part of it.
What an immense privilege. And what a helpful way to reduce, even remove, some of the tension that builds in me because I am not getting my way with the Lord. If I instead start my day here, with this wise understanding, I will walk with clearer purpose, with a clearer sense of my role in it all, and see for myself the might hand of God intervening in our corner of the world.
Lord, bring it on. Continue to work out your salvation in our midst in this time in human history. You intervene because you love us, care for us, and we can’t do this life without your power at work in it! Thank you lord!
Written by Ps. Rob Waugh
I’m interested in others’ views of this passage. As far as I know, this command to the Gentile church by James was never removed, but then again, neither was it re-emphasised elsewhere in the NT. So, to my mind, I shouldn’t eat black pudding, blutwurst or other foods made with blood. What do others think?
Amen Rob. God was bringing his chosen to himself, building his church, and his wonderful plan is so expansive it’s no wonder the apostles struggled. They responded to his call by the Spirit. I want that power afresh today so I am ready to respond to his call on my life, not be stuck in my normal narrow thinking. Come afresh Holy Spirit