SCRIPTURE FROM: Acts 9:11-16 (MSG)
TEXT: 11-12 “Get up and go over to Straight Avenue. Ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus. His name is Saul. He’s there praying. He has just had a dream in which he saw a man named Ananias enter the house and lay hands on him so he could see again.”
13-14 Ananias protested, “Master, you can’t be serious. Everybody’s talking about this man and the terrible things he’s been doing, his reign of terror against your people in Jerusalem! And now he’s shown up here with papers from the Chief Priest that give him license to do the same to us.”
15-16 But the Master said, “Don’t argue. Go! I have picked him as my personal representative to non-Jews and kings and Jews. And now I’m about to show him what he’s in for—the hard suffering that goes with this job.”
OBSERVATION: Interesting how God shocks His servants with challenges, that they feel, are so outlandish! Moses was shocked, and found excuses when asked to take charge of the Israelites. Having never seen or heard of rain, Noah was shocked to receive orders to build a huge boat up on dry land. In our Scripture today, Ananias is being asked to go and minister to a murderer of Christians. One who had always fought Christianity and all that it stood for. Although God was the one telling Ananias to ‘Go’, Ananias was sure there must be some mistake, and he had to be sure that was cleared up before he agreed to do anything. Aren’t we just as quick in coming up with excuses why we can’t or shouldn’t do certain parts of ministry today?
APPLICATION: Do you remember the anxiety the first time that you were asked to read a few verses of Scripture, or pray aloud in public? Did the fear of that happening, keep you from attending certain services, or from sitting near the front? Did that fear worsen when you were asked to go and visit a shut-in or a hospitalized member of the church? Ever felt led of God to visit a friend who was not a believer, hoping that you would find the opportunity to witness to that person, but at the last minute you got ‘cold feet’ and started to find multiple excuses why you couldn’t go? If any of these things bring back vivid memories, then you may have had a mild Ananias experience. I say ‘mild’, because in the case of Ananias, he was being asked to go and lay hands on one of the biggest threats in his time. We would hate to think about being near to a mass murderer, even if given the opportunity to witness to them, but it was a well known fact that Saul was out to eliminate those who might minister for the Lord Jesus, and Ananias was one of those. Wouldn’t that be the same as placing the ‘bait’ right at the feet of the ‘lion’? Friends, I believe that this Scripture shows us several facets of God’s amazing plan. Who else would be more effective in speaking to the folk that opposed God, than one of their own? Who else would show the power of God to save even the vilest of sinners, as in the case of Saul? Who else could better show a life transformed by the blood of Jesus, like Paul did? In listening to the news every day of our lives, we hear of so many forms of evil that, in most cases, we cringe at it happening very close to many of our home towns. God has called us to proclaim His Word and to be His witnesses at home and abroad. Stop finding excuses and saying “But Lord…..”, for He knows the plans He has for you. Don’t disappoint Him by trying to correct or remind the King of all kings and Lord of all lords, that you may know something that He may have overlooked. Let me remind you again what He said back to Ananias, ‘Just GO’. Let’s learn to be more obedient friend.
PRAYER: Unfortunately, I believe that we are just as doubtful today, even after seeing the after results of Your demands on several unsuspecting servants in Your Word. There is no doubt that You hold the world in Your hands and that it moves at Your command. The same is true for the individuals that You alone created. Lord, please have mercy on us and continue to strengthen us with the help of the Holy Spirit, to obediently follow Your commands and Your will for us, especially in using us to touch the lives of others, especially those who seem so unlikely to us. Lord, may Your perfect will be achieved in and through Your saints today, even me Lord. AMEN!
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