This devotional was first posted on our church website here
On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said… (Acts 4:23-24a)
Pressure often reveals (or squeezes out of us) our true heart motivations or thoughts. Put bluntly, when life sucks, this is probably the best time for seeing what we really believe and hold dear.
Here in Acts 4, Peter and John have been put under immense pressure by the leading religious figures of their day. Verse 21 tells us that after an extensive interrogation, they are threatened. I want to suggest this is pressure and loads of it! So what got squeezed out of these two disciples? Amazingly, the thing that got squeezed out first was a big and secure belief in the sovereignty of God.
What does the sovereignty of God mean? A.W. Pink put it like this: ‘we mean the supremacy of God, the kingship of God, the godhood of God. To say that God is sovereign is to declare that God is God.’ Earthing this a little more, A.W. Pink then said: “Only two alternatives are possible: God must either rule, or be ruled; sway, or be swayed; accomplish His own will, or be thwarted by His creatures. ” This Biblical view of the sovereign nature of God needles the me-centred world that we live in (and it often hurts!). Believing in the sovereign will of God is to “receive all that enters our lives as from His hand, no matter what may be our circumstances or surroundings — whether in a hovel, a prison-dungeon, or a martyr’s stake — we shall be enabled to say, “The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places” (Ps 16:6). But that is the language of faith, not sight or of sense” (A.W. Pink). It was this foundation-like belief in the sovereign nature of God that enabled Peter & John (and the rest of the church community) on their release and reunion with their rest of the church in Jerusalem, to start their prayer meeting with “Sovereign Lord”.
What about you? When you consider the ebbs and flows of your life, are you able to look beyond the straining plans of men and see the sovereign hands of God at work? Are you able to start each day of your life with a simple but profound prayer: “Sovereign Lord”?
Dear Father, in a world that is all at sea, and seemingly unmovable things have been brushed aside in the blink of an eye, I want to anchor my heart afresh into your sovereign care for me. Nothing enters my life without your sovereign hand at work. Even in the most difficult and painful seasons of life, I choose to lean back into your sovereign care rather than pulling away into my own self-made protection. Right now I join with believers throughout history and around the world in declaring afresh your absolute sovereignty in all things! Amen