Today’s Bible reading is Numbers 1 and Acts 13.
In Acts 13, Paul and Barnabas have the opportunity to address a gathering of Jews in Antioch of Pisidia.
So Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand… (Acts 13:16)
…he summarizes what God accomplished in the Old Testament through the nation of Israel. Do you find it challenging to wrap your mind around what the first two-thirds of the Bible is really all about? Paul’s Spirit-led message in Acts 13 can be tremendously helpful.
- The God of this people Israel chose our fathers
- He made this family-line great during their stay in Egypt
- With uplifted arm he led them out of Egyptian bondage
- For about 40 years he put up with them in the wilderness
- After destroying seven nations in Canaan, he gave Israel their land as an inheritance
- All this took about 450 years
- He gave them judges until Samuel the prophet
- Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul
- When he had removed Saul, God raised up David, a man after his own heart
- Of David’s offspring, God has brought to Israel a Savior–Jesus–as he promised
- Before Jesus’ coming, John had proclaimed a baptism of repentance to Israel
- Those who lived in Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus
- They fulfilled the utterances of the prophets by condemning him
- With Pilate’s help, they executed him
- But God raised him from the dead and for many days he appeared to eyewitnesses
“And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus… Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.” (Acts 13:32-33, 38-39)
That’s the message of the Bible in a nutshell, especially as it relates to what God has accomplished in and through the Jewish people.
Just one more thought for the day. As you look at that bullet-pointed-outline, there are a whole lot of generations represented there, but that’s ancient history. Why does all of this matter for us today? Take a moment to think about what Paul said in Acts 13:36:
“For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers…”
That’s what God expected of every man and woman represented in that sweeping summary of the Old Testament. That’s what he expected of Jewish and Gentile hearers of the good news in the days of Acts 13. This is what our Creator expects of me, of you, and everyone else today–serve the purpose of God in our own generation.
Each one of us is one part of a created order that is much bigger than we can possibly comprehend. We are one generation in a long, long chain of generations. God has clearly revealed his plan and purposes for mankind through his prophets and apostles. He has blessed us with incredible access to his revealed will and another day on this planet.
It all leads to this basic question: Whose purposes will you serve today?