Words of Divine Wisdom from ???? him???
Devotional Thought of the Day:
Fellow Israelites, be careful what you are about to do to these men. 36 *Some time ago, Theudas appeared, claiming to be someone important, and about four hundred men joined him, but he was killed, and all those who were loyal to him were disbanded and came to nothing. 37 After him came Judas the Galilean at the time of the census. He also drew people after him, but he too perished and all who were loyal to him were scattered. 38 So now I tell you, have nothing to do with these men, and let them go. For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself. 39 But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them; you may even find yourselves fighting against God.” They were persuaded by him. Acts 5:35-39 NABRE
His name was Gamaliel, one of the greatest of Jewish Rabbi’s, not just of his time, but in history.
Not exactly a friend to those who followed Jesus; though, in this situation, he certainly had words of wisdom that were beneficial to them.He’s not the only one throughout history who was not a believer, yet God used to deliver and guide his people. Jethro’s father was one, and Cyrus the Persian for another. I’m not sure that Balaam’s ass was a believer, but God even spoke through it.
So how do we deal with such things?
We know that there are two forms of revelation, that is two ways in which we know about God. The first is through scripture, specific revelation. This is where we get to know God deeply. He tells us who He is, how much he loves us, how Christ came and proved that love. The second way is what is called general revelation, and is what we can discern of the Creator through nature, through observation, through the various sciences.
Even the observations and thoughts of man that create idols and establish man-made religions have some truth in them, some portion that is written based on how God has ordered things. For such false religions were created based, not in a vacuum, but withing God’s creation, within His world, by humans who are made in His image, and have a portion of the truth.
Remember – they aren’t His enemies, though they may fight against God, and struggle with His direct, specific revelation.
That doesn’t mean they have the complete truth. Or that we should just accept what they can observe as being equal to what we interpret from scripture. But we can consider their wisdom, measure it against scripture ( not just our interpretation of scripture). and rejoice where it is found consistent.
Is this easy or fast? No. Sometimes testing their belief means that we spend a few hours in scripture, and in prayer. But Gamaliel’s advice is similar – let’s see if God is at work in this. And hold fast to the truth we know!
Does it change how we relate to those who believe other than we do? Yes – we see them as people who are looking for God, and doing what they can to deal with their own brokenness.
This change in attitude leads us to a position that means we aren’t opposition, but rather working alongside them. There may be a line in the sand – but that isn’t to divide us, it is to remind us of what has been specifically given to us, through Christ’s life, death, burial,and resurrection. There is the line – that love of God revealed in Christ. That specific, merciful, glorious revelation of His love.s
In the midst of all of this, praying and asking God to bless us, we find a very special ministry, that of seeing all reconciled to Jesus.
And that my friends, is worth it. .
New American Bible. Revised Edition. Washington, DC: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2011. Print.