I was reading the beginning of Acts 11 this morning, and it got me thinking. You know how in those stories you know really well, an earlier part can remind you of what happens later? Yeah, it was a bit like that.
I was reading about when Peter returned from telling the good news about Jesus to Cornelius and watching his household being filled with the Holy Spirit. Some people thought this good news should only be told to Jews, and Cornelius wasn’t a Jew, so Peter came in for a bit of criticism. Fresh from witnessing God’s power, this opposition didn’t faze him at all. You see, Peter himself had been reluctant to associate with non-Jews, but in Acts 10:9-20, God had shown him a vision of animals Jews were forbidden to eat and said: “Don’t call anything unclean which I have called clean.” So, Peter described the vision he’d had in the previous chapter as his reason for visiting Cornelius. Great! What a transformation!
But later on, in Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he writes that Peter ate with non-Jews, but when some strict Jews came along, he started to back away from them. In typical Paul fashion, Paul opposed Peter to his face ‘Because he stood condemned’. (I love how Paul confronts these issues.) Why did Peter stand condemned? Because God had already revealed how He wanted him to treat people: “Don’t call anything unclean which I have called clean”, but instead of being led by the Spirit of God, Peter was acting in fear – backing away from the non-Jews because he was afraid of those who were Jewish like himself.
What about the vision? What about the power God had given Peter to communicate with non-Jews? Perhaps it’s not dissimilar to that day in the Garden of Eden, when the serpent came along. “Did God really say …?” As time passes, it can be so easy to let doubt creep into our minds, but Paul tells us: “There is therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1). Instead of walking in the flesh (in our fears or doubts), let’s walk according to God’s Spirit and be faithful to our callings.
“Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse does not come to rest” (Proverbs 26:2).
I wanted to share this verse today because when I’ve heard in the past about people being cursed I’ve felt some fear, but I think this does something to dispel that. The New Century Version is the Bible I read most, and this verse in the NCV makes it even clearer. “Curses will not harm someone who is innocent; they are like sparrows or swallows that fly around and never land.”
The thing about curses is, they needn’t rest on us. When we put our trust in Jesus, God looks at us through Him, and it’s as if He’s looking through rose-tinted glasses. Because of Jesus, our guilt is gone. God sees us as innocent/blameless, and that’s what gives us authority over our enemy, the devil. In this authority that Jesus has passed on to us, there’s power available to break every curse.
There are some times (and this is one of them) when I feel that what Jesus has done for us is too high and too wonderful for me to fully comprehend it, and all I can say is thank You.
I read Ezekiel 17 this morning, then I noticed Lisa-Jo’s 5-minute Friday theme for this week was ‘Roots’, so I’m joining in. Why don’t you go to her post and take a look at some of the other entries linked up there, or have a go for yourself. It’s fun: Write for 5 minutes; no editing or overthinking, and then link your post up with Lisa-Jo. There’s just one rule: That you visit the person’s blog who linked before you and encourage them in the comments!
Ok then, here’s my 5 minutes:
Somewhere in the sky, there must be two eagles. A reminder of what God said: That one took the top of a tree in its beak and dropped it into fertile soil by the water. The tree grew because its roots were by the water, but when the other eagle came, its roots went towards him, and it withered. It withered even in the garden where it was thriving.
God also took a tender shoot; planted Him in the land of Israel. His roots always went to the Father, as He prayed so fervently and regularly. He was tempted by the other eagle, but His roots never turned; never went towards Satan or the world, … and He never withered.
So put your roots down deep into God; don’t turn to the right or to the left, and you’ll always be fresh and green … and growing.