Acts 10:34-35 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.”
This was the moment when Peter really understood the vision he had on the rooftop a few days earlier. (Acts 10:9-16) He had understood it enough to accompany the Gentiles who had come to get him, but it wasn’t until he arrived and heard Cornelius’ invitation to tell them the things of God that it really got all the way through to him. We can be amazingly dense at times, but God loves and uses us anyway! I am reminded of Benjamin Berger, who had a direct visitation from the Lord (though it was audible but not visual) to let him know personally that Jesus is the Messiah, but it still took him a year before he had the courage, as a Jew, to receive baptism. Even so, he has been mightily used by God in the years since. Reading the Bible today we might think, “Well, duh,” about some of the things people were slow to accept at the time, but we have the advantage of many centuries of perspective. We aren’t really any more perceptive than they were. That’s why God often teaches us the same lessons again and again, to deepen our understanding. We might think we’ve got it down, but God knows better! The thing is, God will do whatever is necessary to teach us what He wants us to know, so the more sensitive and yielded to Him we are, the sooner and more easily we can get on to the next lesson.
I am reminded of this truth from time to time as I recognize review lessons for what they are. Spoken lessons of that sort are fine, but sometimes object lessons can be painful! I would like to grasp each lesson fully the first time, but looking at the Biblical record I have to be satisfied with things as they are, not accusing myself too much for being dense. I also need to remember this as a pastor and teacher, exercising the patience toward others that God shows to me. I have failed to do that more times than I like to think about. I’m giving a special examination to some nursing students tomorrow who failed to show sufficient mastery of the material before. I am not to give them results they haven’t learned, but I am also not to put them down because they took longer to learn it. I need to respond to the people in this church the same way, speaking the truth in love as many times as necessary, growing along with them as we all draw closer to Christ.
Father, this time this morning is an illustration of what I have just written! This is not new truth to me, but I don’t walk in it with sufficient consistency. Help me be a “doer of your Word” (James 1:22) more and more and better and better, so that I may participate fully in Your plans for me, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!