This Scripture reminds me of the story of David and Goliath. Standing at over ten feet tall, this Philistine giant named Goliath, taunted the Israelite army and challenged anyone to man-to-man combat. It tells us for 40 days he would come forward every morning and evening and take his stand against King Saul and his frightened men. But it wasn’t until a young shepherd boy name David overheard Goliath defying the living God… that Goliath was silenced by a sling and a single stone.
So what exactly were the apostles doing that would land them in jail? It tells us that they were performing many miraculous signs and wonders…healing the sick and tormented…and that many were coming to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. They were doing good stuff, but they were also persecuted for it. Contention within the Body can degenerate into negative emotions that desire to make war against the good they see others doing…simply because it’s not them performing it. They feel threatened, so they attempt to discount and belittle rather than praising God for what He’s doing. Doing good regardless…it tells us in I Peter 3:17 that we may have to suffer in doing good…and that we shouldn’t become weary in doing it. (Galatians 6:9) I pray we all may have the boldness to continue doing good no matter the cost.
This story of Elisha is a foreshadowing of Jesus feeding the 5,000 – ( the only story, other than the Resurrection, that is found in all 4 Gospels). So it must have made quite an impact on the Disciples to witness a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish being multiplied into a huge meal for thousands. Comparing both stories, we see doubt and skepticism on the part of the faithful…people who had observed many miracles, but couldn’t fathom this one. We also see confidence and full trust in God that He would bless over and above. In both cases, there wasn’t just enough, there was plenty to go around…there wasn’t the bare minimum, there was excess to spare. For God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask, (Ephesians 3:20) and He desires to lavish His blessings on us…to the point of overflowing.
It’s a terrible Syndrome that has spread itself across the land, afflicting many a once wise person…it’s called Foot in Mouth Syndrome. It seems that Freedom of Speech has taken an ugly turn…something our forefathers would shutter at. We think it is now quite alright to blurt out the first thing that pops into our head…speaking in haste and then claiming it’s our right to say it. Proverbs 19:2 says, “It is not good to have zeal without knowledge.” Over-eagerness without wisdom can only show just how foolish we are to others.
The first time you heard the Gospel, what filters did it go through in your head? If your background is in Engineering, maybe you applied scientific and mathematical principles. Or if your background is in Liberal Arts, maybe you dissected, examined and scrutinized the message from a different point of view. But if you were like me, in the end, we had to take the Gospel at face value…believing it was the truth, and deliberately and readily receiving it as such. Being receptive to the Gospel demands a leap of faith…of embracing something with child-like faith that we don’t fully understand…but trusting God will show us the way. In the verse before this, Jesus tells the disciples to, “Let the little children come to Me.” We are His little children, and that’s how He expects us to come to Him…filled with child-like faith, confidence, and hope.
When we praise the Lord with a heart full of thankfulness…we rise. We rise above our circumstances, we rise above the current pain, and we rise above our negative emotions. But when we just complain to the Lord…we remain. We remain stagnant in the mess around us, and we remain unhappy…wallowing in self-pity. Now that’s not saying we can’t ever complain to the Lord…Jeremiah and Habakkuk did for a few…but in the end they turned their protests into praise. That’s because they looked beyond their griping and grumbling to the bigger picture of gratitude. When we praise, we rise…but when we complain, we remain.