Year 2 Day 26
Read - Acts 14v8-18
Message - Scott Woodburn
In Acts 12 a crowd gathers and declares Herod to have the voice of a god and not of a man. If you remember the story then you will know that Herod didn't do anything to change their opinion. Those who oppose Christ, those who are anti-Christ, happily receive the worship and adoration that is due to God alone.
As Paul and Barnabas minister in Lystra they heal a man who had never walked in his life. He had been crippled from birth (v8) but at Paul's command he sprang up of the ground and started walking (v10). Needless to say the crowds were amazed and declared boldly that the gods had come down to earth in the form of Paul and Barnabas (v11). They named Barnabas, Zeus (the Greek god of the sky and thunder) and they named Paul, Hermes (the Greek god who acted as a messenger of the gods) (v12). Even the priest of Zeus was convinced and he brought gifts to offer a sacrifice to Paul and Barnabas (v13).
I'm sure such adoration was all very flattering but Paul and Barnabas didn't fall into Herod's trap. He was delighted when told how god-like he was but Paul and Barnabas were distraught. They tore their garments in frustration and ran to tell the crowd that they were only men just like them (v15). Even in the midst of the idolatry Paul faithfully proclaimed the Word. In the past God had allowed the nations to walk in their own ways (v16) but even back then the rains from the sky and the fruitful seasons acted as a witness that there was indeed a God (v17). The Lystrans owed the Lord God almighty their praise and Him alone. Sadly even with words of warning Paul and Barnabas could barely stop the people from making a sacrifice to them (v18).
John Calvin famously wrote that "the human heart is a perpetual idol factory." In other words we constantly make "gods" who receive our attention and who get our worship. For one man nothing is as important as his career. Another individual lives for pleasures of the flesh. Another gathers wealth and prosperity. Still another rests in self-righteousness. Our hearts deceive us, only Christ is King.
Today we mourn alongside our Monarch as she attends the funeral of her beloved husband Philip. I was amazed in the past week when I read that a tribe in Vanuatu will also mourn the Duke. For them Prince Philip was the physical representation of an ancient warrior leader and his spirit will now return to the island of Tanna. This is simply a tragedy. Once more, only Christ is king and everyone will stand before Him.
As the world looks to these shores today and mourns the death of a war hero and national servant, I pray that the Gospel of Christ will ring out and be preached clearly. From shore to shore and from sea to shining sea may the nations hear what has been written in this short devotion. Only Christ is king and He alone is able to save to the uttermost all who call upon Him.
Q39 What is the duty which God requireth of man? The duty which God requireth of man, is obedience to his revealed will.