Thursday, July 24, 2014
Who are you agreeing with?
Silas and Paul are in agreement with God and His good purposes, even in the prison, and the jailer is getting there fast.
PRAISE doesn’t depend on feelings, or even what God appears to have done, or not done. Praise is about who God is. It is our acknowledgement of His greatness, His superiority and Jesus’ victory – and His covenant faithfulness with us, His children.
If God is for us, who can be against us?
So it stands to reason that there will be times that we may need to enter into praise, when all around seems to be shouting the opposite. The circumstances spell disaster… and that raises a clear question for us.
Who do we agree with? Whatever we think, or say, or do, represents us agreeing with one or the other: what the enemy is stealing or what God is putting in place.
Do we agree with the circumstances – this is how it is, those things happen, no way out? Talking about it stoically, a view most people can respect?
Or do we agree with God’s promises, God’s hope, the whispers of the Spirit and the weapons that God puts in our hand (Psalm 18:34). Time to use the bow, and raise the sword of the Spirit which is the word declared.
Agreement, as we have seen, is a very important principle in Scripture and in our relationship with God (and for that matter, others who have the same relationship with God). Jesus’ Jewish hearers would have known that – they were a covenant people – but Jesus gives them a reminder:
I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.
This is no throwaway line. This is how it works. Praise is a clear demonstration of agreement with God, and an expression of our trust in His purposes.
That’s how it was for Paul and Silas, flogged on the magistrate’s orders and locked in the stocks of the inner cell. Yet at midnight they were praying – the word used would encompass praise – and singing hymns, definitely a praise word, and the other prisoners were listening. There was an earthquake, everything broke loose, and the jailer and his family accepted Jesus as Lord.
Paul and Silas agreed that God had not abandoned them, but had a purpose in their being there. They did not feel good, but they agreed that God was good. Paul would later write to the Roman believers “that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Paul and Silas knew their call. They knew God.
They could choose to come in the opposite spirit to despair and hopelessness and fear, not to mention resentment at their divine covering apparently developing a big hole in its ozone layer – and speak out the truth about God’s character.
God was glorified and they walked free. Praise always changes the picture. The only cost is to our sense of logic and propriety.