How quickly can a nation go from worshiping the One True God to idolatry? In this instance, it only took two generations. Can you believe a priest and grandson of Moses, the man the LORD used to deliver Israel from slavery in Egypt, would lead the Danites into organized idolatry?
I want to cry out "How could this happen?" But I know the answer. How easy is it for parents and grandparents to focus their instruction upon the things this world values rather than those things of Kingdom value? If this could happen to Moses' grandson, what does it say about our need to be diligent in both living and teaching our children the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
Holy Spirit, please convict and strengthen parents and grandparents to raise their children with the discipline and instruction which comes from You.
In Paul's introduction to this angry crowd, he describes himself as a Pharisee, trained by Gamaliel, who persecuted followers of Jesus. Speaking their language and characterizing himself in this way, Paul knew the crowd would listen to what he had to say.
In the first century, Gamaliel was a leader in the Sanhedrin. In the Mishna (a compilation of the oral teaching of leading Jewish rabbis), Gamaliel was held to be one of the greatest teachers of Judaism. He was the grandson of Hillel, one of Israel's most famous rabbis. Hillel was the founder of one of the two most famous schools of rabbinical thought in all of Israel's history.
Gamaliel proved himself to be wise counsel by the advice he gave to the high priest and the Senate concerning their treatment of Peter and John in Acts 5:34-39. He concluded his argument with "Keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!"
The crowd listened to Paul until he told them the God for whom they were zealous sent him to the Gentiles. When the crowd heard that, they hated him as they did his teacher. Naturally, I am speaking of Jesus Christ, not Gamaliel. Jesus previously warned His disciples this would happen in John 15:18-19. "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you."
O great and mighty God, whose name is LORD of hosts, thank You for raising up men like Paul. He is an excellent example of Your perfect patience for those of us who believe in Jesus. With Paul's history and background, acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah is additional proof that "with God all things are possible."
Doesn't this verse stir your soul! Just listen to what He says He will do "with all my heart and soul." He will "rejoice in doing them good," "plant them," and "bring upon them all the good that I promise." Just as He instructs us to love Him "with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength" in Mark 12:30, He will do all He promised with the same earnestness.
Thank You, Jesus. You are correct—There is none good but God. Only the LORD God Almighty would be so good to an undeserving people like me.