The book of Acts is insane. Seriously. Where do you even begin posting a pithy devotional thought on today’s reading? We’ve got Peter confronting legalistic people who are more concerned about circumcision than repentance. Barnabas builds bridges between new converts and the religious establishment. James is killed. Peter is miraculously released from prison while those who were praying for him couldn’t believe it. Herod is eaten by worms. And the word of God increased and multiplied (Acts 12:24) Why has no one made a movie out of these stories?
These chapters are marked heavily in my Bible now. Lots of underlining, brackets, circling, and the occasional commentary (i.e., “Oh brother” and “funny” and “this story is crazy!”) But the one statement that leaped off the page and into my spirit this morning was Acts 11:21- “And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.” My sidebar commentary was “I pray that the hand of the Lord would be with me.”
That phrase “hand of the Lord” shows up a couple dozen times in Scripture. In Joshua, the hand of the Lord demonstrated power (Joshua 2:15). The hand of the Lord on David gave supernatural understanding (1 Chronicles 28:19). Elisha prophesied when the hand of the Lord came upon him (2 Kings 3:!5). The hand of the Lord brought favor and courage to Ezra (Ezra 7). What is possible when the hand of the Lord is with us?
In Acts, the hand of the Lord brought many Jewish and Gentile people into a relationship with Christ. What might the hand of the Lord bring to NCC? Let’s pray that the hand of the Lord would be with us in our homes, our workplaces, and our communities.