12 When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. 13 And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate.
Ha! This seems to be the response by the Church when God’s presence overwhelms them! They get super excited about Church because the Spirit overwhelmed them and everyone else so they rush to Facebook and start talking about it or rush to their friends and start talking about it, instead of welcoming Him in and embracing Him. At times it seems we become infatuated with the reality of His presence that we lose the intentional act of LISTENING to what the Presence of God may be speaking into our lives.
15 They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is his angel!” 16 But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. 17 But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Tell these things to James and to the brothers.” Then he departed and went to another place.
18 Now when day came, there was no little disturbance among the soldiers over what had become of Peter. 19 And after Herod searched for him and did not find him, he examined the sentries and ordered that they should be put to death. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea and spent time there.
So God delivers Peter but the guards are still looking for him! Sometimes we imagine God’s deliverance will have a supernatural follow up where no one will lash back against our new freedom. Sometimes that may be the case, however we normally see the world gets pretty upset when God does something great for believers. Here we see no difference: God frees a man and human nature pushes them to look for Peter, and order his death. What does this matter? Well, sometimes God blesses us with something but the aftermath may seem worse than the blessing. Think about it: Peter was imprisoned and NOT killed like James was… yet now God freed him and he is now guaranteed death if they find him. It seems like he is now in worse condition… yet it was God’s provision. At first glance, when the world begins to retaliate, God’s provision may seem like a misunderstanding on your part. You may look at things and determine, “I wish you would have let me die in Egypt!” (foreshadowing for when Israel complains after their provision). Lets be aware of Scripture and how history played out. God’s provision doesn’t always start off looking beneficial from a human perspective.
20 Now Herod was angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, and they came to him with one accord, and having persuaded Blastus, the king’s chamberlain, they asked for peace, because their country depended on the king’s country for food. 21 On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. 22 And the people were shouting, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” 23 Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last.
24 But the word of God increased and multiplied.
25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had completed their service, bringing with them John, whose other name was Mark.
With a little time and trust God’s provision begins to unfold and we can see what He was doing. In this account the same is true: God provided and it seemed bleak but He followed up with the rest of the plan and His people were back on course. God’s Word is increasing through the use of humanity- both by way of their faults and successes.
Lord, thank You for not growing weary towards me when I falter and question Your plan. Thank you for understanding my frailty and still blessing me with Your provision. Help me to be assured that no matter how the plan looks from the outside You are in control and working things out to glorify You! Amen.
This is a good principle to realize in Scripture. You likely know of a few people going through some rough patches that “seemed” like God’s provision but then things seem significantly worse. I.e. I am a pastor who decided to pause my path towards going overseas and has planted my feet here to disciple a church. Within just a few weeks we were sent into the digital dispersion that was CORONA! If I only went on the surface actions I would have seen: well I took over this church and now everything everywhere is falling apart. It’s harder than I anticipated, it’s totally different than I anticipated, and an Earthly view would have said: “Maybe this is the proverbial whale that swallowed you.” However, I see God being glorified through my actions and our growth. Though on the surface things seem bleak God assures our heart and confirms His plan! He shows His name being spread and confirms again that THIS is what He calls us to do regardless of the Earthly repercussions. The Christian’s success isn’t measured in Earthly comfort or gains rather it’s based on Kingdom growth!