Acts 4:18-20 – “So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. 20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” NKJV
In today’s world, as predicted by Scripture, Christians are being assaulted politically and legally by government agencies, groups, and individuals. Prayer has been banned from public schools and many public institutions, buildings and activities. The Bible is taboo in many places within our society. We are told we cannot ‘name the name of Jesus’ lest we offend others of different faiths although they are not banned from proselytizing in the name of their religion or god. We seem to have come to a time when there is an open attempt to ‘silence’ Christians, ‘censor’ the Christian message, and ‘control’ what preachers can or cannot preach from their pulpits. The Bible describes these conditions as part of the ‘last days’ and it will only intensify as we near the time of the Lord’s return.
I have people tell me biblically I am forbidden to ‘speak against’ what government does and suggest that I am to ‘obey’ apparently blindly to whatever edict is issued for the ruling authorities. I question that and if I used no other scripture to reject it the above passage would be sufficient. There is a time to ‘disobey’ authority and that is when what they are instructing or demanding violates the Word of God or the Spirit of God. The disciples were not rebels in the sense they went out looking for trouble but were so completely committed to God they were willing to put their lives on the line to obey God and considered any disobedience to man’s edicts as an expected occurrence when forced to choose.
I do not intend this devotional to be political but warn than those in politics when used as tools of the devil will pass laws and issue edicts that violate God’s Word and when they do we have to make a choice. They may take my physical freedom and incarcerate me. They may take my possessions and render me a pauper. They may take my physical life but they cannot take away my eternal destiny nor will they ever ascend above God’s authority. If in the course of events, God so chooses to allow them to do that I will still trust Him and seek to obey Him. I have made my choice to ‘follow Jesus’ wherever and into whatever He may lead.
I like Peter’s response. It was not disrespectful but to the point and factual. He made no pretense or showed no hesitation in advising the powers that he stood before making them decide if they should have more power and authority than God. He then informed them that all he and the others could do was ‘speak’ the things they had seen and heard. They purposed in their hearts to obey God and so should we. If that means we violate legislation, edicts, and laws that violate God’s Word, Precepts, and Principles then so be it. My heart cries to “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” in all things and at all times.
May God be with you as you face this day and all your tomorrows!