The Believers in Damascus had heard about Saul and his murderous threats against them. Ananias also knew Saul had traveled there with the authority from the Chief Priests to arrest them all. So you can imagine that Ananias had many excuses as to why he shouldn’t go and lay hands on this man…but God said, “Go!” And Ananias went. But somewhere between his house and the house where Saul was staying Ananias had a major heart adjustment. For when he greeted Saul, he called him Brother Saul. Brother meaning Saul had been accepted into the community of brothers and sisters in the Lord.
I use the King James version of this Scripture today… because it states that it was the Church that God was adding to daily…(other versions say – God added to their numbers). So what was so different about this particular group of people? What we saw was unity and mutual care for one another. There was fellowship, prayer, and the breaking of bread among them…but there was also evangelism outside the four walls. The early Church was a delicate balance of both inward and outward focus…and God added to their numbers daily.
To me, doubt is the most debilitating and controlling weapon Satan uses against us. We can be the strongest of Christians with absolute trust and confidence in our Savior…but when the tiniest bit of doubt creeps into our minds, suddenly we’re filled with questioning, uncertainty, and apprehension. And a lot of these times it’s not that we’re doubting God …we’re doubting what God can to do through us. Self-doubt will stop God’s plans and purposes for our life…self-doubt is like telling the Lord, “You don’t know what you’re doing, I know better.” As Jesus told Thomas, “Stop doubting and believe.”
Jesus wasn’t chastising the Disciples, He was simply speaking the truth, and fulfilling the prophecy spoken of from Zechariah. Jesus Christ is our Good Shepherd…the one Who cares for, watches over, and provides for the welfare of His flock…Christian Believers everywhere.
The writer of Hebrews is paraphrasing Habakkuk 2:3-4 in this passage. He’s stressing that our spiritual walk is made up of constant, focused, decisions to trust and obey the Lord…even when we can’t see change. He warns us against retreating or drawing back from trials simply out of fear. If you’re in the middle of a storm today, don’t allow fear to rule your life…don’t hesitate when apprehension rises in your throat…rather make a conscious decision to listen to that still small voice of the Holy Spirit and walk by faith.