You, LORD, Have Never Forsaken Those Who Seek You

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1 CHRONICLES 11:1-12:18 | ACTS 28:1-31 | PSALM 9:1-12 | PROVERBS 19:1-3

This chapter in the first book of Chronicles focuses on David and his ascension to the throne as king of Israel after Saul.  David conquers Jerusalem, and has with him his “mighty warriors”—men who, like David himself, have been endowed with supernatural strength. 

There is a long list of these men.  They are committed to David, and are instrumental in his victories and in the establishment of the kingdom.  Their dedication to their cause is reflected in the words of one of their leaders who says this to David:

“We are yours, David!
We are with you, son of Jesse!
Success, success to you,
and success to those who help you,
for your God will help you.”

Turning next to our continued reading in the book of Acts, we find that Paul and his party on the ship have been shipwrecked, and find themselves on the island of Malta.  It is said that the natives on the island afforded them much hospitality, and Paul in turn, offered what he best could:  prayers for their good health and well-being. 

It is said that Paul went into the house of one of the chief officials’ of the island and prayed for the recovery of his aged, ailing father.  This one incident leads to many others on the island to approach Paul for similar prayer and healing, and Paul readily obliges.

Three months later, they set out for Rome—their original destination, and although Paul is still held as prisoner, he is afforded some liberties in that he is allowed to stay with some of the Jewish believers in Rome while still under guard.  Straight-talker that he is, Paul shares his thoughts with the Jewish community there. 

He says to them,  “My brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or against the customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. 18 They examined me and wanted to release me, because I was not guilty of any crime deserving death. 19 The Jews objected, so I was compelled to make an appeal to Caesar. I certainly did not intend to bring any charge against my own people. 20 For this reason I have asked to see you and talk with you. It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.”

The people are tolerant of him for the most part, but when Paul states his purpose in preaching to the Gentiles in order to fulfill the prophecies of old, his invocation of the prophets of old do not set too well with his audience. 

Paul quotes Isaiah in saying this:  “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your ancestors when he said through Isaiah the prophet:

26 “‘Go to this people and say,
“You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.”
27 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’

28 “Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!”

It is said that Paul remained in Rome for two years all the while guarded by the Roman guard, as if in house arrest, but was allowed to preach and teach at will and without hindrance.

Turning now to our reading of the psalms, we find another psalm bursting with praise and thanksgiving.  I am always in deep admiration of David’s ability to exalt the name of the Lord in the manner in which he offers praise.  He says:

1 I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
2 I will be glad and rejoice in you;
I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.

He goes on to state with unequivocal confidence these thoughts as well:

7 The LORD reigns forever;
he has established his throne for judgment.
8 He rules the world in righteousness
and judges the peoples with equity.
9 The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
10 Those who know your name trust in you,
for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.

Finally, one verse from the book of Proverbs which is significant food for thought.  How easy it is for us to discount the consequences of our own poor and willful choices, and accept no responsibility for them.

3 A person’s own folly leads to their ruin,
   yet their heart rages against the LORD.

4 thoughts on “You, LORD, Have Never Forsaken Those Who Seek You

  1. Two things strike me about this part of Acts. First, the vivid descriptiveness of Luke’s narrative. His detail is incredible, like a great storyteller bringing the moment to life, making you feel like you were there. Second, Paul’s encounter with the Jewish community in Rome. To me this is the essence of his mission boiled down into one day. And he is the perfect person to do this: learned in the law, steeped in the gospels, and bold enough to bring the two together to a skeptical audience.

    1. Yes, it is indeed remarkable — both the narrative and Paul’s calling and his response to it.

      As for the “skeptical audience”, yes, there will always be those among us who are skeptical, some of which may be forever so. This ought not be a deterrent to those who are compelled to preach the good news of salvation. It is not up to us to bring about the conviction of one’s soul and spirit; that is the work only of the Holy Spirit. Our duty is to plant and sow, and perhaps even water; but only when the Holy Spirit works within the heart of the person is there a transformation and revelation that occurs. It is another matter as to whether the person will allow or resist the work of the Holy Spirit.

      But when that happens, it is with childlike faith that the most skeptical among us — not unlike Paul himself — is brought to our knees and we are struck with wonder at how simple and beautiful this gift of love truly is.

      On Fri, Jul 11, 2014 at 8:32 AM, Smriti "Simmi" D. Isaac wrote:

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