Acts 4:12 NKJV
Acts 4:24b NLT
Psalm 115:1-3 NKJV
Daniel 6:18-23 and the Book of Esther
Ephesians 1:21 NLT
Our God is sovereign!
Following Jesus’ ascension to heaven the new believers were told in Acts 4:12, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
To set the scene, in Acts 3, Peter and John were in the Temple and there was a man who was lame from birth who was begging at the gate. Peter saw him and plainly told him he didn’t have silver or gold but he did have a gift for him. In Acts 3:6 he said to the man, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”
And the man stood up and walked.
It turned out that word of the healing got out and in Acts 4:5-7 the scribes, priests, rulers and even the high priests (Annas , Caiaphas, John, and Alexander) were trying to figure out what power Peter had to heal the man who was lame from birth.
So they asked Peter how the man was healed and what name was used to heal him. In Acts 4:10 Peter told them it was in the name of Jesus.
The men questioning Peter were baffled. They did not know what to do! They ended up warning Peter and John in Acts 4:18-21 not to do that again. No kidding? So, they’re supposed to see a lame man that they can heal and tell him, “sorry…I’m not supposed to heal you?”
As it turns out, that’s not what happened. Peter and John went out and they lifted their voices to worship God!
In Acts 4:24b we read, “all the believers lifted their voices together in prayer to God: “O Sovereign Lord, Creator of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them.”
They knew God is THE God. There are no other gods besides our God Almighty and Jesus His Son!
They did not back down!
In Psalm 115, the writer was very clear about the sovereignty and glory of God in heaven.
In Psalm 115:1-3 we read, “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to Your name give glory, because of Your mercy, because of Your truth. Why should the Gentiles say, “So where is their God?” But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases.”
Then in Psalm 115:4, we read, “their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands.”
The writer was saying these aren’t sovereign.
Many theologians believe this psalm was written during the Babylonian Exile. It was a very difficult time for Israel. Daniel was there for Israel. Do you remember when he was thrown into the hungry Lion’s Den and came out unscathed? He knew God would not fail him.
Then, do you remember Queen Esther who stood up for her Hebrew people during the exile? Esther knew God would not fail Israel.
During that time there were other gods, false gods but there were also strong Hebrew leaders who wrote about THE Yahweh God who was the only God. Daniel and Esther reminded the children of Israel there are no other gods who can stand up to THE God of Israel. The silver and gold idols cannot even be compared to Yahweh God.
Daniel had seen the power of God…THE God at work (Daniel 6).
Queen Esther knew the power of THE God. Even though she was a Jewess AND an orphan, God chose her to help the children of Israel at a time when they needed it. Esther was the chosen one, the woman of the hour who would plead with the Persian King for mercy for her people (see the book of Esther to read her story).
During the exile, even in a foreign land, Yahweh God was sovereign.
Yahweh God is the only God.
In the book of Ephesians, the Apostle Paul wrote to tell them Jesus is their hope in a world of oppression and injustice. He wanted them to know grace is real and Jesus came to transform the world.
The book of Ephesians differs somewhat from Paul’s other writings in that he writes about general themes. It reads a bit like a theology textbook. The writing is dense and complex to the point where I need to stop periodically (like after every sentence) to sort through what Paul is saying.
Paul begins Chapter 1 by greeting the Ephesians. He then explains the redeeming power of Christ. He ends Chapter One with a prayer for wisdom.
Ephesians 1:21-22 Paul writes:
“Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.”
In order to make a case for Christ, Paul had to lay the groundwork telling the church at Ephesus WHO Jesus really IS.
Jesus is the Son of God.
Jesus has authority and power above any ruler.
Jesus is head of the church.
Jesus makes all things complete; He is Sovereign because God put all things under the authority of Christ.
Our God is sovereign.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: God is Bigger
Whatever you face, your God is Bigger. Throughout the day say, God is Bigger.
In God, Deborah