Summary: God’s Providence is PERSONAL, PATIENT, PERFECT. God’s Peace comes thru being SAVED, and SECURE! Link inc. to formatted text, audio/video, PowerPoint.

The Mystery of Providence and the Majesty of Peace

Acts 12

We looked at Ch. 11 last week…I put up my sermons each wk. in an accordion folder…so you could say this week I filed ch. 11!

There’s a very interesting triangle around the church in Acts 12…there’s a hostile world attacking, a persecuted church praying, and a hearing God intervening!

Allow me to summarize the chapter and draw a couple of things out of it. It begins w/ Herod arresting James and putting him to death…

v. 1-2 Herod was a blood-thirsty man who came by it honestly. His g’father was Herod the Great, who ordered all male babies under the age of 2 in Bethlehem slaughtered to get rid of the Christ-child…later in life he got angry w/ one of his wives and had her executed along w/ her mother and their 3 sons! His uncle was Herod Antipas. He had John the Baptist beheaded because of lust for a woman.

This Herod in ch. 12 in Herod Agrippa I. He is despised by the Jews because they resented having the Romans ruling over them. So, to win the Jews over to himself, he began persecuting the Christians. He knew the Jews hated the Christians…so he had the Apostle James executed, and the Jews loved it!

So, he said, I’ll go all out and give them something they’ll really like, and had Peter arrested and made plans to execute him. And God’s people went to praying, God heard, dispatched an angel, prison doors flung open, Peter walked right out!

Then later in the chapter, Herod was giving a speech, and the people shouted and said, you’re not a man, you’re a god! And Herod accepted their praise and gave not God the glory, and v. 23 tells us God smote him and he was immediately consumed of worms and died!

2 lessons in this chapter:

• The Mystery of Providence

I’ve been saved 27 years, and yet there’s so many things I don’t understand about God. Our finite minds can’t comprehend the mysteries of our wonderful, mighty God!

1. God’s Providence is Personal.

There are 2 apostles in this chapter…James and Peter. Herod decided they would die, and one of them did die…yet one was miraculously delivered. One died, and one lived. I have no doubt that the church prayed for James just as much as they did for Peter.

Yet, in God’s providence, one died and one lived. This tells us that God deals separately and individually in the lives of His people. God’s will for Peter was a long full life of ministry, and for James, a young Martyr’s death…what’s imp’t is not how long a life we live, but how we live what God gives to us.

“Only 1 life, ‘twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last!”

And even if we live to 100, it’s very short compared to eternity.

Yet we ask, why does one live and one die? The answer: we don’t know! The Sovereign will of God is a mystery. We cannot understand it, but we must trust it.

Isaiah 55:8-9

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. [9] For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

My God is so big, so strong and so mighty…! Aren’t you glad you have a God bigger than you could understand?! If you could figure your God out, then why should He be your God?

Romans 11:33

O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

It’s time we decide to accept our God for who He is, and to say, I’m glad it’s that way!

And when we don’t know the “Why”, we can trust the “Who”!

We can know He’s good and loving, and that regardless of the circumstances, He makes no mistakes!

The mystery of the providence of God…it’s personal…

2. God’s Providence is Patient.

You can see this as you look at Herod…

v. 21-23 God let Herod go a long way, but eventually, God read his meter, and sent him the bill! He probably laughed when James’ head rolled, and felt proud at his banquets and rising to give speeches like this one, hearing the people’s applause.

But the Bible says,

Numbers 32:23

…behold, ye have sinned against the Lord: and be sure your sin will find you out.

“The wheels of God’s judgment may sometimes grind slowly, but mark it down, they grind surely”

1 Tim. 5:24

Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.

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