Commission of God – Luke 10:5-7

Staging for Success

5 “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’6 If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you.7 Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.”

Primary Peace

The disciples were emissaries of Jesus Christ, preaching peace with God through the Gospel.  The traditional greeting was “shalom”, which meant “peace be unto you.”  This peace was more than just “inner peace.”  It was meant to convey completeness, wholeness, prosperity.  Additionally, it was to also it indicate not just a lack of conflict between the person (or persons/organization) offered the greeting and the greeter, but an  amicable connectedness  between them.  But since the disciples were told not to greet anyone on the road, they were to present this blessing of peace to those who permitted them to stay with them.

Participating Partnership

In addition, their peace – the peace that was provided through the reconciliation to God through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ – would only come upon those whose hearts were prepared for it.  If anyone rejected their message, their protection and provision of peace would leave the unbelieving persons and rest again upon the disciples.  The peace of God will only descend and rest upon those who receive the message of the Gospel.

Have you ever been near someone and felt at complete peace around them, as though the cares of the world vanished, and the presence of God protected you from all harm?  I believe that this is the peace that God provided to those who received the disciples, that it would be both a blessing to their hosts and a witness to the disciples’ calling from God, so that their hosts would receive what God intended for them to accept and receive – the peace of imputed righteousness through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Contented Consumption

God’s provision did not only include housing, but also food and drink.  The disciples were in the process of being staged to deliver the message of God, and in doing so, they were to accept what was provided to them in contentment, without questioning the source; for the source was The Lord God Almighty.  God would provide everything that they needed to be successful in the calling that God had provided to them to fulfill.  This also freed them to work full-time on their calling, rather than concerning themselves with funding their efforts.

Forgo Favoritism

God is not a respecter of persons.  He does not show favoritism.  By staying at the house that initially invited them in, and provided hospitality to them, there would be no appearance of impropriety with moving from house to house.  This ensured that their base of operations within the town and the city was established.  Additionally, as the townspeople saw that blessing that was afforded by God to the host family, they might have begun to wonder what had happened and be drawn to hear the message.

In any case, it would not be good to have the people say that the disciples were leaching off of families, staying until they had worn out their welcome, begging for food and shelter from any who would provide.  By staying at one residence, it removed any charges of favoritism.  Imagine what would be said if they came to a poor home, and within a day or so, moved to the home of a wealthy person or a person of authority or prominence.  The charge of seeking favoritism would rightly have been leveled against them.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask ourselves a question:  Are we staging for the ministry that God is preparing us for in contentment and peace?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You are the provider of all good things.  Thank You for the opportunities that You provide to me, and for Your gracious provision in all that I have.  Help me to have a walk that is so close to You that Your peace surrounds me like a cloud.  Still my heart of any anxiety for any situation that I may be facing today.  May Your presence be felt by others around me and be a witness to Your provision, love, and care.  Show me how to stage my life that Your plans may be fulfilled through me.  Father, help me to be a vessel emptied of myself and filled with Your Spirit.  Prepare me to be a better tool that You might use me mightily in Your Kingdom.  This I ask and pray in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

The Peace of God – Philippians 4:6-7

What Everyone is Looking for – Inner Peace

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Anxious Anticipation

It is so easy to be overwhelmed by our circumstances: loss of a loved one; physical injury/illness incapacitates us; financial loss looms in our immediate future, etc.  The natural tendency of man is to worry and be anxious.  Jesus tells us that we have no reason to be anxious:

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

The Priority of Prayer

James tells us something else about our inner state of unrest:

1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

It is very important to recognize that we can ask God for ANYTHING.  But when we ask God, we should ask with the right motives.  God may very well say no to the Ferrari, the 50 room castle on the 3000 acres of land, and winning the lottery.  God is NOT a cosmic vending machine, where you put in a prayer and out pops the appropriate blessing.

Additionally, we have a tendency to ask, and, when it is given to us, to quickly forget the giver as we enjoy the gift.  We should always remember that every good giving and every perfect gift is from God, and thank God in contentment for it.

The Power of Peace

When we follow God’s prescription, we will receive His blessing – Inner Peace.  This is a peace that transcends all understanding.  When we know that we should be unsettled, God settles our hearts with His comfort – and then peace, rather then worry, controls our emotions.  It is as if we are embraced with His arms, as he wards off all attackers, safe in His care.  It is this peace that allowed Stephen to cry out to God for forgiveness of his attackers as he was being stoned to death.  It was this peace that helped the early Christians endure martyrdom when Nero had them impaled, covered with pitch, and set on fire in his gardens.  It was this peace that allowed the Apostle Peter to ask to be crucified upside-down because he said that he wasn’t worthy of being crucified in the same manner as his Savior.  It is this same peace that can calm the emotional storms in our lives when we seek God in our times of distress.

The Qualifying Question

So, let’s ask the question: Do we first go to God in prayer, or do we first worry in anxiety when our lives are turned upside down?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You have shown us that You desire us to come to You when we are in need.  You know all of our needs, and when we pray, have prepared an answer in advance for us.  Your care for us is great; yet we are like sheep, and easily frightened by the least little thing.  Help me this day, Lord God, to better trust you in my circumstances, for Your very name, YHWH, describes Your character – as He who exists and is dynamically involved in my life.  Help me to remember that You are sovereign.  Grant me peace in my dire circumstances as well as the trivial ones, for nothing in my life is trivial to You.  Guard my heart, and surround me with Your presence through these things.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?