#carmelprays – Acts 1:12-26
Opening Song: Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise
Read Scripture: Acts 1:1-11
Do you have a significant decision to make that requires you to discern God’s will? What can you do while waiting for God’s will to unfold? How can you approach major life decisions? Three observations spring from Acts 1:12-26 which details the disciples’ experience of waiting on God in the period between Jesus’ ascension and Pentecost:
- Waiting on God should be understood in light of His kingdom purposes. Sometimes, when we claim that we are “waiting on God”, we are really just waiting for our selfish desires to come into fruition. But in this passage, we observe that the disciples were waiting for God’s kingdom plans to unfold in their lives. Prior to His ascension, Jesus revealed God’s mission for the disciples – they would become recipients of power when the Holy Spirit came upon them, as well as Jesus’ witnesses to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). It is against the backdrop of this broad charge that Jesus instructed the disciples to remain in Jerusalem and wait for the promised gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4).
- Waiting in obedience means actively pursuing God in prayer, fellowship, Scripture and deed. The disciples were not furnished with details of when and how the Holy Spirit would come, but this did not mean inaction on their part. As they waited, the disciples gathered in unity to pray constantly in the upper room in Jerusalem (v24). They also acted to fulfil God’s will according to Scripture. Peter’s understanding and reliance on God’s Word (Ps 69:25 and 109:8) led him to believe that God wanted them to find an official replacement for the late Judas who betrayed Jesus to fulfil Scripture (v15-20). This is a reminder for those of us prone to fretting over how to make the “right” decision, but fail to first obey what has been clearly revealed in the Bible on how we ought to live.
- When it is time to decide, rely heavily on God and trust in His sovereignty over the outcome. To decide on Judas’ replacement, the disciples proposed two possible candidates based on parameters aligned to God’s kingdom purposes, prayed expectantly for God to reveal His choice to them and casted lots (v21-26). While the Old Testament tradition of casting lots to make major decisions had ceased with the coming of the Holy Spirit, what is notable is the disciples’ heavy reliance on God for the outcome of the decision in their methods and trust in His sovereignty over what we typically consider to be “chance” (see Pv 16:33 “every decision is from the Lord”). So, when the lot fell to Matthias (v26), they did not second-guess the decision and ran with it. This is incredibly difficult to accept, especially when we are anxious about making the wrong choice under unclear circumstances. We fear our lives and God’s plans would be ruined. But, as seen in the case of Judas and other parts of the Bible, we can trust that God’s good and sovereign plans for His kingdom and our lives will continue to progress in spite of human sin and error. And it is with such confidence that we continue to work and wait.
Pray in Response
Immortal, invisible, God only wise! We praise You that there is none like You! You alone deserve all glory, praise and worship.
“The Lord is exalted over all the nations, His glory above the heavens. Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?” (Ps 113:4-6)
Yet, You have reached out and drawn me to Yourself through Christ – in order that I may know You personally and intimately. Thank You for glorious works – for Your love, wisdom and grace. I praise You for Your greatness and goodness.
Help me to know You more – not just head-knowledge and informationally, but heart-knowledge, transformationally. As I know You, may I exercise greater faith and submission to Your leading with every passing year. And in my life now, in my daily actions and decisions, grant me the peace and patience to seek You, wait on You and obey as You lead. Amen.
Response Song 1: Trust His Heart
Response Song 2: Sovereign Over Us
By Anonymous Carmelite