The God of the unexpected!
“And there came a Voice to him, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ But, Peter said, ‘Not so, Lord—for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.’ And, the Voice spoke unto him again the second time, ‘What God has cleansed, do not call ‘common’.”
Although He’s the “God Who changes not” (Heb. 13:8; James 1:17), there are still times when He’ll call us out of our comfort zones.
“Arise, kill and eat.”
That doesn’t seem like such a big deal until we read it in its context. And, in Peter’s case, the Voice from Heaven was instructing him to eat things that were on his forbidden food list (vv.12, 14). No wonder he initially objected, for he’d been taught from childhood to avoid such things lest he’d be labeled “unclean.”
Now, we know the real message behind this vision referred to his dealings with Gentiles. Jews didn’t associate with non-Jews, for doing so rendered them ritually unclean. But, God was about to change all of that and wanted Peter to understand that it was okay for him to go to Cornelius, who was a Roman centurion stationed in Caesarea (vv.17-22).
Talk about a crisis of Faith!
This was definitely a big-time crisis for Peter. Just as Ananias had to overcome his fears in order to minister to Saul on Straight Street (Acts 9:10-19),so Peter had to overcome his prejudice to preach to Cornelius and his household. And, what a wonderful response there was to his obedience and message(vv.23-48)! Glory!!
Thankfully, although Peter didn’t fully understand the vision, he still “arose and went with Cornelius’ servants, doubting nothing” (vv.20-21). Like Mary, who couldn’t understand the ins-and-outs of having a child even though still a virgin, Peter obeyed the “God of the unexpected” and was used by Him in a most marvelous way.
Oh, dear friend, too often we limit what God’s wanting to do in/through us because of our unbelief and/or disobedience. We forget “His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts” (Is. 55:8-9) and works in ways that are beyond our wildest dreams (I Cor. 2:9). That’s why we must fully surrender to Him and, like Abraham, “go without knowing where we’re going” (Heb. 11:8), always knowing with Whom we’re going.
So, what’s God wanting you to do right now that’s tempting you to shrink back and say “Wait a minute, Lord. Let me think about it”? What obstacles seem too insurmountable or what burdens seem too heavy to bear? Are you more like Moses. . .prone to offer many excuses. . . than you are Isaiah, who said “Here am I; send/use me” (Is. 6:8)?
If so, it’s time to “let go and let God” as you surrender fully to Him on His Potter’s Wheel (Jer. 18:1-6). His Grace is sufficient for you and through your weakness He’ll manifest Himself and His Power (II Cor. 12:9-10). The key is trust. What’s holding you back? The time is now. Surrender your all to Him, Who has nail-scars in His Hands. Then, watch Him work. You’ll realize anew how great He is and what a privilege it is to join Him in what He’s doing.