SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT!
Mighty God, You are the great “I Am,” the God who makes things happen. I joyfully worship You today.
Read ACTS 10:9–23a
9 About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. 13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”
14 “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”
15 The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”
16 This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.
17 While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon’s house was and stopped at the gate. 18 They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there.
19 While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, three men are looking for you. 20 So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.”
21 Peter went down and said to the men, “I’m the one you’re looking for. Why have you come?”
22 The men replied, “We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to ask you to come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say.” 23 Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests.
Peter at Cornelius’s House
The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the believers from Joppa went along.
New International Version (NIV)
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We see here in the development of the events that God’s clocks keep perfect time!
While Cornelius was acting on his own instruction, Peter was seeking some privacy on Simon’s roof. Had he been fasting as well and thus was hungry? It was not a normal Jewish mealtime. He was certainly receptive to God and was possibly under an awning shading him from the sun. All three of these factors could have influenced his vision. Some paradigm shifts in a person’s thinking are so immense that just a vision, or the Spirit’s prompt, or a human request, is not enough. Peter needed all three—and God’s timing, as always, was perfect. At the arrival of Cornelius’s men, everything was lined up. At this point Peter was still very constrained by a lifetime’s conviction that not only certain food but also hospitality in a Gentile home was forbidden (Lev. 11, but see Mark 7:18,19 and
Food laws defined a Jew and marked him out as different. But now… it was a short step from accepting that all foods were clean to recognizing that Gentiles were clean” too. Yet, as N. T. Wright says, here was a “first century Jewish fisherman feeling his way towards some astonishing and revolutionary understandings.” The Bible often glosses over momentous events. Here, we simply read the facts (23). When Abraham was called, he just went (Gen. 12:1–4).
There is no hint in either story of the huge significance of these acts of obedience, or their effect on the person involved. What is needed to be in place for us when God is guiding us? Certainly, receptivity in prayer and a nudge from the Spirit. Perhaps also something as simple as hunger, or a human request to do
something. Sometimes, such guidance may lead to something beyond our current vision. We should not be afraid of a paradigm shift in our thinking, if God is behind it.
In what ways do you resist God’s guidance because it goes against what you’ve always understood to be the right way of doing things?
Heavenly Father, sometimes I find guidance confusing. I ask for the gift of discernment so that I can interpret and understand how You are directing me.