Humbling Yourself

Read Psalm 1-3, Acts 17:1-15

Focus Acts 17:1-15

Observation
I observed no matter where Paul went, there were opponents who would stir up the crowds to go against Paul.

17:5 – The Jews were jealous and formed a mob. They set the city (Thessalonica) in an uproar.
17:13 – His opponents (The Jews again!) from Thessalonica traveled 81km to Berea just to stir up the crowds against Paul again.

And both incidents caused Paul to depart from the city and progress to other cities.
Although they faced opposition in preaching Christ, good things still happens in the cities where Paul preached in.

17:4 Some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas.
17:5 Someone by the name of Jason welcomed Paul and Silas to his house.
17:11 Noble Jews received the word with eagerness. They even made efforts to examine the scriptures daily to see if what they preached were true.
17:12 Many of them believed.

Interpretation
Why are they so hostile to Paul? Because they were jealous.
The Jews were jealous because they are losing power athatuence.

Another reason is because the opponents were losing financial gain due to the preaching of the gospel. Throughout the book of Acts, we could see the profit motive often works against the gospel. In this case, we see many people were blinded by making profits. Especially the wicked men!

However some were not, why are they willing to receive Paul? Why were they eager to receive the word? Who are these people that so willingly accepted the message by Paul?

Who is Jason? Who are the devout Greeks? The leading women? Who are the noble Jews in Berea? Who are the Greek men and women of high standing? Why are they more receptive compared to the opponents of Paul?

We do not have much info in this passage that will tell us their characteristics, but we could see there is a wide range of people among those who received the gospel – The Jews and the Gentiles. The noble and the high standing.

But the Jews were obviously the only group who started everything and went against Paul.

Perhaps the author is making a point – the gospel is for everyone to hear and receive it, but the proud and jealous (like the Jews) have difficulty listening and receiving the gospel.

Application
I thought of this passage as a godly response (application) to today’s word.

James 4:6-10
But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

Am I a proud man? Am I jealous of others because they are better than me?
Being proud and jealous come together… Because the reason why we are jealous is because we cannot stand others being better than us! And why we can’t stand others being better than us is because we have pride, we want to be better than others so that we can boast OR at least we desire to appear to be better than others.

What is better? To get into a better school?

I just registered Gracia to Pei Hwa Presbyterian School in the morning! Was quite chill during the registration because we have priority as Emily was an old girl.

I have mixed feeling, I want her to enter this school because I really hope she will get a better education.
BUT… Part of me, there is this sinful pride that wants her to be there to make us proud!
There is this part of me that hope that she will be in an elite school to help us don’t feel jealous over other parents whose children are in the elite school. I want to be seem as the elite or up one level class somehow. Sinful wretched man…

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

Prayer
O Lord, you are gracious. Though I am proud and at times jealous with others, you still humbled me to hear and receive your word daily. Thank you for your reminder of proud and jealousy. May getting our girl into a better school won’t get us into a better position of showing off. Have mercy on us O Lord! Keep us humble.
In Christ, Amen!

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