Acts 4:23-31 Give Us Boldness!

Standing strong against the waves

Peter and John, fresh from prison and the council chamber head for their friends. Boy have they got a story to tell!

I’m assuming here that their friends were all gathered in one place, possibly praying for them through the night. Peter and John spare no detail in relating the story of their arrest and the orders given them by the chief priests and elders. They leave no threat hidden. But they ALSO make certain to include the account of the Holy Spirit’s working in that setting. Luke doesn’t tell us this specifically but the reaction of the group certainly leads me to believe this.

The first thing this group does after hearing the account, including the threats, is to turn to God. They knew where their help lay. I am impressed by their prayer! They started it by recognizing God as sovereign in all that took place previously and then. They recognized David’s words as prophecy for the very acts that took place during Jesus’ crucifixion. They also recognized that every aspect of that event was part of God’s plan, not man’s. And finally they ask God’s help concerning the threats made by the religious leaders.

Most people, including me, would be asking for protection for themselves or for the threat to disappear. But this group asked for boldness in the face of adversity instead. They asked God to continue to work signs and wonders through Jesus’ name so as to continue to draw more people to Him. They knew this would anger the religious leaders but the eternal lives of the people they were trying to reach far outweighed their own comfort and safety.

They didn’t ask God to calm the storm but to strengthen them to stand firm in spite of it. God heard that prayer and answered it! His answer was a new filling of the Holy Spirit. They received the boldness they were seeking. He helped them carry on through the storm.

Father God, I don’t know if I would have had the courage to pray that prayer. Did some of them want the storm calmed instead, like I would have wanted? Did Peter inspire them with his story of how Your Holy Spirit helped him in his moment of need? That was one of the promises Jesus gave His disciples before leaving them. I’m so glad they remembered and relied on it.

I don’t face anything near what the early church did. My storms seem like spring showers in comparison. But to me they are still big. Maybe I need to be praying like they did instead. Praying first that You have everything well in hand, even when I don’t see it. Then letting You decide if You are going to calm the storm or calm me instead.

I need Your wisdom regarding which storms to ask to be calmed. The early believers knew not to even ask for that one to be calmed. They understood the benefit if standing in the storm. They were like a lighthouse on the hillside for those who were lost. They would NOT give up that position. Neither did Jesus. They were modeling their lives after His. Help me do the same Lord.

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