So Paul stood, lifted his hand to quiet [the people in the synagogue], and started speaking. "Men of Israel," he said, "and you God-fearing Gentiles, listen to me."
"The God of this nation of Israel chose our ancestors and made them multiply and grow strong during their stay in Egypt. Then with a powerful arm he led them out of their slavery. He put up with them through forty years of wandering in the wilderness. Then he destroyed seven nations in Canaan and gave their land to Israel as an inheritance. All this took about 450 years.
"After that, God gave them judges to rule until the time of Samuel the prophet."
— Acts 13:16-20 NLT
God chose to bless Abraham and the Israelites, who were Abraham's descendants, but he also chose them as his people to bless all humanity. God didn't bless the Israelites because they were the most powerful or most numerous or most righteous people; he chose them to be a blessing.* God chose them to bring his blessings to all people, not to hoard his love, mercy, grace, and goodness. As Paul speaks to fellow Israelites in the synagogue, he is affirming God's care for them through the centuries of Jewish history, but he is also emphasizing that God's message of salvation came through the Jewish people. As Christians, God declared us to be spiritual children of Abraham (Galatians 3:7, 29) and chose us to receive his blessings. He also chose to share his blessing through us to others — all others, from every language, people, tribe, and nation. One day, we will all join together in praise to God for his incredible grace for us in Jesus (Revelation 7:9-12). We are blessed to bring God's blessings to others!
O Father, forgive me for my forgetfulness and my lack of genuine thankfulness. I so easily become focused on my struggles and problems. I forget the many ways you have blessed me. The message today reminded me that I am part of your chosen people, blessed to receive grace and mercy so that I can share Jesus with others. O Holy Spirit, I acknowledge this sharing as my purpose in life, but please awaken me to my opportunities to share Jesus and to the wisdom to share his Good News well. I ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.
Related Scripture Readings
- Genesis 12:1-3, 15:1-6; Deuteronomy 7:6-11; Isaiah 41:7-14
- 1 Peter 2:9-17
Other Devotionals from Heartlight for Saturday, July 24, 2021
About This Devotional
Unstoppable! is a one-year devotional guide through the book of Acts. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage, a reflection and a prayer. The reflection opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges one to live for Jesus.
Unstoppable! is written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.