Scripture reading for February 23rd: Acts 23, Psalm 39, Proverbs 8
Acts 23:6-10 “”Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of a Pharisees. It is with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.” And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all. Then a great clamor arose, and some of the scribes of the Pharisees’ party stood up and contended sharply, “We find nothing wrong in this man. What if a spirit or an angel spoke to him?” And when the dissension became violent, the tribune, afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him away from among them by force to the barracks.”
As Paul was brought before the religious Jews who were seeking to kill him, God gave him insight into the division of these leaders. They were divided into sects, Sadducees and Pharisees, according to what they believed about the supernatural world. One group, the Sadducees, were anti-supernatural, doubting in what was not visible. The Pharisees, of which Paul was a part, believed in the resurrection of he dead and angels and spirits. Paul wisely chose to identify with those believing the supernatural. God’s message of grace and mercy towards sinners involved resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Sharp and violent disagreement took place around these issues. This also happens today when the Gospel is preached.
Psalm 39:7-8 “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You. Deliver me from all my transgressions. Do not make me the scorn of the fool!”
Prayer: Father God, deliver me from religious divisions around traditions of men. Help me to discern, like Paul, how to answer and to rightly and kindly confront those in error. You have promised us Your wisdom and deliverance by faith and trusting in You to help us. Thank You for always being true to Your Word! Help me to wait on You for direction in each circumstance of persecution or misunderstanding.
Proverbs 8:8-9 “All the Words of My mouth are righteous; there is nothing twisted or crooked in them. They are all straight to him who understands, and right to those who find knowledge.”