Be careful! Don’t let the prophets’ words apply to you. For they said, ‘Look, you mockers, be amazed and die! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it.’Acts 13:41
It seems this last closing statement of Paul’s has disturbed some of you. I have had a number of responses to my last Gem. Andre asked a follow up question to my comments about God acting like a wise father and not giving us something that we can’t handle. Why is God treating the Israelites differently, even though it is not good for them to have their king, but God did gave them their king? The simple reason is that when we ask and ask and won’t listen to the answer because of our stubbornness, our parents will sometimes say, “Ok then, have what you’re asking for . . .” as a means of teaching us a lesson. Sometimes the best way to teach someone that something is harmful is to allow them to have what they want for a while. The Israelites were stubbornly refusing the message of God time and time again. So God allowed them to experience the consequences of having what they wanted. Andre, He couldn’t have put it any planner than what He told them in 1 Sam 8, but still they wanted something other than His will. At that moment God says, “OK you are on your own on this one. I will allow you to have what you are asking for in the hope of teaching you the error of your ways.” Be careful when God gives you over to your own desires.
A number of you asked if a certain verse was the one that Paul was referring to in this closing statement. There have been all sorts of ideas as to what Paul had in mind here. Is it this verse Ian? Or it is that one Ian? Is it all of what the prophets said combined together. Now that is an interesting idea. In a sense, yes that is true because Paul by his comments in his sermon has used the whole of Jewish history to paint the picture. This was happening continually, so God said “Enough”. A little like my comment above related to Andre’s question.
No, actually Paul has a particular statement by a prophet in mind. He has quoted it for you. The problem for us is that it was a relatively obscure prophet and his words are not often quoted. So how do you find the quote when that happens. Use a good study Bible and it will give you the connection in the cross references if you don’t recognize the source of the quote from you own memory of Scripture. The quote is from Habakkuk 1:5 which reads: Look at the nations and watch and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe even if you were told.” When you compare the quote it is different. Paul has changed the first part of the words Habakkuk wrote. Paul wrote, “Look you mockers, be amazed and die.”
- Why does God change tack on us?
- Why does Paul change the words?
Things should go according to plan so there are no bumps in the road. You say, I don’t like it when that happens. When God changes the playing field or when Paul misquotes Habakkuk. Well, take some time to find out why. Clearly this is something that bothered some of you so concentrate on the words that were written for you and work out what is happening. Learn to rightly interpret the Scripture. I will stop at this point and leave you the time until the next Gem to come up with what you think is happening here.
Now you have time to work out why Paul changed Habakkuk’s words and why God changes the rules.
Is it one prophet’s quote in focus or all prophetic words during Israel’s history? There is a little clue in the text for you to find. Learn to look at the details.Ian Vail
Don’t you just hate it when you don’t know why things are not working as they should?Ian Vail
Why the universe is out of balance and things don’t go the way they ought?Ian Vail
The sad thing for most of us is that we miss the lesson hidden there because we can’t be bothered to look for an answer.Ian Vail
Paul and the prophets will on occasions bate us with things that just don’t seem right but we don’t even notice or can’t be bothered to find out why.Ian Vail
So don’t let the prophets’ words apply to you. Find out why and which words.