Acts 12:18-24 “18 Now as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers, what was become of Peter. 19 And when Herod had sought for him, and found him not, he examined the keepers, and commanded that they should be put to death. And he went down from Judaea to Caesarea, and there abode. 20 And Herod was highly displeased with them of Tyre and Sidon: but they came with one accord to him, and, having made Blastus the king’s chamberlain their friend, desired peace; because their country was nourished by the king’s country. 21 And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. 22 And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. 23 And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost. 24 But the word of God grew and multiplied” (KJV).
When we face difficult times in life, whether alone or as a church, we often struggle to find answers. We may try different things in order to break out of our troubling times. As I stated in yesterday’s post “If Only…” prayer should be the first place we go and should remain our highest priority. The church prayed fervently for Peter’s deliverance. The Lord answered those prayers by sending an angel to free Peter. The text today provides an answer to why prayer is important.
Have you ever been faced with a trial because you stood up for what you believed in? Have you ever been judged for being a Christian; called a “Bible Thumper”, “Holy Roller”, etc. Some Christians will fight back, but there efforts will only make things worse. How we handle ourselves during difficult times is important. We are being watched by the world and those around us. If we take matters into our own hands, we may be robbing ourselves and the Lord, an opportunity to witness to others.
The Lord allowed Herod to take the life of James and throw Peter into prison, but prayer was the only answer for his persecution. Herod was dealt with, and ended up dying a horrible death (eaten by worms).
Without valleys, there could be no mountain tops. You can’t jump from one mountain top to another without traveling through a valley. When the church prayed for Peter, the Lord set him free and made sure Herod would not bother them again.
Sometimes the best way to witness and share the gospel to others is when we are struggling in the valleys of life. It is a blessing to know that God can use anyone; at any moment in life, to be a witness for Christ. I was reminded of the Welsh Revival of 1904 when, “A young girl named Florrie Evans, who had been a believer a few days, rose and with a trembling voice said simply, “I love Jesus with all my heart.” The other young people’s hearts were melted. A powerful spiritual awakening that brought 100,000 people to Christ was under way” (Roberts, E. 1905).
The Silent Preacher
Evan Roberts, in W. T. Stead, ed., The Story of the Welsh Revival (London: Fleming H. Revell, 1905)