If It Is Of God
Acts 5:38-39 (ESV) – “So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” So they took his advice…
Have you ever seen a small child trying to overpower an adult? It is funny to watch. We laugh and think it’s cute. A small boy is pushing his father that isn’t budging. Or a dad is wrestling on the ground with his kid and has his arms pinned down to the floor. The child can’t budge. These examples showcase the difference in strength between a child and an adult. We’re not shocked by it when it is observed. We get a good chuckle out of it and move on.
But our passage today shows us that in some ways we live this out in our lives with God. God is infinitely stronger than any father over a child. In the same way that a child cannot match the strength of their father, neither can any human do anything against the power of Almighty God.
We read in Acts 5:38-39, Gamaliel a respected teacher in the Sanhedrin, reminds his colleagues of this as they seek to shut down Peter and John from preaching about Jesus. He says to them, “’So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!’ So they took his advice….”
Notice that his counsel to his peers is that they should leave Jesus’ disciples alone. Why? Because if they are not of God, their labors will ultimately fail. If they are against God, they will not succeed. God won’t let them. But if they are of God, nothing any of the members of the Sanhedrin do will prevail. They will find themselves fighting against God.
Gamaliel’s words to the Sanhedrin remind us too that God has the power and authority to do everything He pleases. Men may fight against His will, but they will not succeed. God will always accomplish His will and nothing that opponents do can thwart His plan from coming to pass. Gamaliel reminded the other leaders that what is not of God will not last.
Like a father over his weaker children, the Lord’s power is so complete that men cannot overpower Him with their actions or desires.
If He is at work, no man can stop it. If it is not of God, it will never last. Let this comfort you today. Look to Him and trust His perfect will to be done.
Reflection & Journal:
- Why do members of the Sanhedrin want so badly to snuff out the disciples message?
- What do Gamaliel’s words reveal about his understanding of God’s power?
- How does this passage encourage you to rest in God’s will and governance today?
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