The Bible passage can be read here.
There are not that many TV programmes that I really enjoy but one that I have liked in the past is ‘Duck Dynasty’. It’s a reality programme that follows the lives of a crazy family from Louisiana who run a multimillion dollar business making duck callers for hunters. There are parts that are very funny but what I really like is that the family (the Robertsons) are unashamedly Christians and every episode ends with the family sat around the table giving thanks to God for his goodness.
They are into hunting and fishing in a big way and they seem to eat anything they can catch or shoot from squirrels to frogs, In a video on YouTube I once saw Jase Robertson quote a verse from today’s passage; ‘Get up, Peter, kill and eat.’ They take it literally.
We have already seen that God was preparing Peter’s heart, but that preparation was about to be intensified. It’s difficult for us to understand just how much the Jews hated the gentiles (everyone who is not Jewish). Stones from the temple have been found containing the inscription;
Jews would not enter the home of a gentile or invite a gentile into their own home. They would pray thanking God that they had not been created a gentile.
Peter didn’t understand what was about to happen but God gave him a vision. From our perspective, it’s easy to see what the vision was all about, God was showing Peter that things he had previously considered outside the scope of the Gospel were about to be redefined. For Peter of course it was a mystery but things were about to fall into place when he heard another voice. This time it was the men Cornelius had sent who were looking for him by name. Peter embraced what God was saying; we can see that because he invited the gentiles into the house where he was staying. Where would all this end?
We can see that God had a plan. He was preparing Peter, hearing the prayers of Cornelius and giving him instructions. It’s the kind of thing that happens all of the time but only rarely get to see. One incident that sticks out in my mind happened several years ago. I’ve met with my friend Graham to pray on Friday mornings for many years. At this time we were praying about an Alpha Course we were about to run in the Church and we were praying that people would come along. Graham had a colleague in work that had shown an interest in Christianity so for several Friday mornings we prayed for her. On Saturday mornings we have an Elders’ prayer meeting and here too we prayed for the forthcoming Alpha Course. During this prayer meeting, Bill prayed consistently for a woman he and Heather had met during one of our outreach events. She had also shown an interest in Christianity so we prayed for her. It was only when the Alpha Course actually started that we realised the person Graham was praying for and the person Bill and Heather were praying for were one and the same. To top it all, this person had already become a Christian and was going to another Church. God had a plan and he was at work in the lives of his people and in bringing this person to know him. I wonder what God is doing right now about some of the things we are praying about? Our job is to be faithful in following him.
Your plans are still to proper,
You have not forgotten us.
You’re with us in the fire and the flood.
You’re faithful forever,
Perfect in love,
You are Sovereign over us. (Sovereign Over Us – Michael W Smith)