Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | October 15, 2019

“Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, On those who hope for His lovingkindness”

Today’s devotion comes from Acts 10:23-35.

“…  And on the next day he got up and went away with them, and some of the brethren from Joppa accompanied him.  On the following day he entered Caesarea.  Now Cornelius was waiting for them and had called together his relatives and close friends.  When Peter entered, Cornelius met him, and fell at his feet and worshiped him.  But Peter raised him up, saying, “Stand up;  I too am just a man.”  As he talked with him, he entered and *found many people assembled.  And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him;  and yet God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean.  That is why I came without even raising any objection when I was sent for.  So I ask for what reason you have sent for me.”

Cornelius said, “Four days ago to this hour, I was praying in my house during the ninth hour;  and behold, a man stood before me in shining garments, and he *said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God.  Therefore send to Joppa and invite Simon, who is also called Peter, to come to you;  he is staying at the house of Simon the tanner by the sea.’  So I sent for you immediately, and you have been kind enough to come.  Now then, we are all here present before God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.”

Opening his mouth, Peter said:

“I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.”  Acts 10:23-35.

——————-

There is a broader message in today’s Scripture than only that now salvation (including the Holy Spirit) is available to Gentiles as well as Jews.

The language in verses 28 and 35 highlighted above (“God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean.” and “in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.”) cause us to thus meditate more broadly, and further back in history, than the recent inclusion of the Gentiles.

We recognize generally that the Gentiles were “excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world”.

“Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands— remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.  But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”  Ephesians 2:11-13.

But, through God’s grace, there were a few Gentiles, such as Rahab, who were saved before the time of Christ.

“By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace.”  Hebrews 11:31.

The following Scripture shows that throughout history “in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.”

“13 The LORD looks from heaven;
He sees all the sons of men;
14 From His dwelling place He looks out
On all the inhabitants of the earth,
15 He who fashions the hearts of them all,
He who understands all their works.
16 The king is not saved by a mighty army;
A warrior is not delivered by great strength.
17 A horse is a false hope for victory;
Nor does it deliver anyone by its great strength.

18 Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope for His lovingkindness,
19 To deliver their soul from death
And to keep them alive in famine.”  Psalm 33:13-19.

Thus, Rahab and other Gentiles before Christ, who by faith understood this quality of God (“in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.”), had this hope.

And, this hope helped Cornelius and Peter understand that it was thus possible for Gentiles to be brought near by Christ.


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