Acts 13:17, 19, 20–22 “The God of this people Israel chose our fathers…and with an uplifted arm He led them out from Egypt…He destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan…He gave them judges…He gave them Saul…He raised up David to be their king.”
Observation: Paul had sailed to Pisidian Antioch, and on the Sabbath had gone into the synagogue where they heard the reading of the Law and the Prophets. Afterward, the synagogue officials invited them to bring a word of exhortation to the people, thus beginning the reading excerpted above.
Application: In six tightly constructed verses Paul summarized God’s hand in the life of Israel from His original choosing of them, through Egyptian exile and deliverance, and onward through the naming of national prophets such as Samuel, the establishment of kings, ending with the reign of David.
Throughout, there is one common theme in all of Paul’s words: God does the choosing. It is at His initiative that each significant step of His people has been taken. He led the people into safety in Egypt, thence into freedom from Egypt’s captivity; He set their rulers in place. Sometimes the people complained bitterly while at other times they expressed gratitude, however fleetingly.
Just as He has ordained the twists and turns of Israel’s path to eternal security, so He desires to lead me to the same freedom from anything I might be prey to. If left to my own devices I would be as helpless as the blinded child trying to pin a tail on a donkey or batting the air furiously because I had once seen a hanging piñata. To the blind, piñatas are elusive indeed. It is so easy to fall into sin and habits that don’t glorify Him. Such disappointment often happens so gradually that I find myself far off course before I hear His corrective voice.
Freedom comes as I hear His voice and choose to follow the path He has laid before me. Corrective action is always at His initiative; mine is to respond, gratefully walking where He has shown me.
Prayer: Lord, the scary thing about all this is that following You really is a choice. You draw me to Your heart, but You leave me free to respond or not. Thank you for that freedom to choose, because when I choose well, I know Your pleasure. That is sweetness itself…reward enough no matter how difficult the journey.