“But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29, ESV)
We have been looking at Acts 5 this week. The apostles were meeting in the temple. People were healed. Good things were happening. But the high priest and his associates become jealous because of the attention the apostles were receiving. So the high priest has the apostles put in prison. But at night an angel breaks the disciples out of prison. After being freed, the apostles go back into the temple and begin to share the good news of Jesus Christ.
It doesn’t take long for the high priest and his associates to find out that the apostles are no longer in prison. Neither was it hard to find them. The apostles were not hiding. They had remained out in the open. So the high priest and his associates bring in the apostles to speak with them.
The first thing the high priest says is: ‘did we not tell you that you can’t teach people about Jesus? Why are you disobeying us?’
Peter’s response is: “we must obey God rather than men.”
There was a choice to be made. The apostles could serve God’s purpose, or they could serve the high priest’s purpose. It was not a difficult choice to make for the apostles.
It is also for all of us to chose what is most important. We choose what we will do – where we will spend our money, how we will manage our time, and what will take our energy. If we don’t choose these things for ourselves, others will choose them for us.
The high priest wanted to dictate an agenda for the apostles. But God had a different agenda that contradicted the agenda of the high priest. That is the way it goes. The priorities of God rarely align with the priorities of the world and the people around us. We will be drawn to go with the flow that does not follow God’s way. God’s way will take us against the current and will likely cause us to upset the status quo.
Joshua, at the end of his life, asked the people of Israel:
“Choose this day whom you will serve…”
He responded confidently:
“But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15, ESV)
There is a word for this. It is commitment. The choice is to follow no matter the cost. Jesus said we cannot serve two masters (see Matthew 6:24). Yet, we try our best to please both God and man. But at the end of the day, there is a choice to make. Whom will you serve?
- Where do you find yourself compromised, trying to serve God and man at the same time?
- How do you commit to serve God alone?
Lord, there are times when I am attracted by the ways of the world. I compromise my integrity and my obedience to your will. Give me a devout and resolute heart that is committed to following you no matter the cost. Give me the courage to lay down my life for the sake of the cause. Amen.