Our Very Practical God

My study of the Acts of the Apostles has taken me to Acts 12 where Simon Peter has been placed in prison.

Herod Agrippa I, the grandson of Herod the Great and the nephew of Herod Antipas, killed James, the brother of John, with the sword and imprisoned Peter as well. He obviously intended to have Peter beheaded as James was.

The Herods were a murderous family. Herod the Great had had the Bethlehem children killed, and Herod Antipas had John the Baptist beheaded. Knowing that killing the apostles would place him in good standing with the Jews, Herod Agrippa probably would have killed all of the apostles.

But he couldn’t because of our amazing God.

Herod had Peter imprisoned and guarded by four squads of soldiers. Peter had “escaped” once from prison and the authorities made sure he couldn’t do so another time. Each squad had four soldiers, two who were chained to Peter and two who guarded the doors. Together, the four squads guarded the prisoner around the clock.

When the Bible tells of this imprisonment, it also tells us that “earnest prayer was made to God by the church” (Acts 12:5).

God heard their prayer and acted to protect Peter. The very night before what would have been Peter’s execution an angel of the Lord appeared and awakened Peter. His chains fell off, and the angel told Peter to dress himself and put on his sandals.

It’s amazing how God sees every need and provides every detail. The angel told Peter to put on his shoes!

You find this same sensitivity in other miracles. When Jesus raised the young girl from the dead, he encouraged the parents to give her something to eat. When Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes, He told the disciples to gather up the fragments! We serve a very practical God.

If the angel could remove Peter’s chains, he could also put on his shoes. Warren Wiersbe reminds us that God never wastes a miracle.

Notice one other thing about this magnificent event.

Peter obeyed. He did what the angel instructed even when he wasn’t sure what was going on. Peter didn’t protest or ask for explanations. He simply obeyed.

So must we.

One Comment

  1. Marlaine Peachey
    Nov 30, 2017

    I remember when my daughter was near death’s door in college with menningococcemia and someone brought me a page of scriptures. One was from the story of Jairus, Luke 8:50, which said “Only believe and she will be made well.” I hung on to that. God was amazing. Amy made it and the doctors said it was nothing short of a miracle. The day we left Children’s Hospital, I said “Thank you doctor,” and he replied, “Just give her something to eat.” I felt my heart skip a beat. Weren’t those Jesus’s words? We were on our way home to healing. God IS amazing!

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I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. — Ephesians 6:4 (NIV)