God strategically and simultaneously operates on multiple fronts.
Scene one has a man named Cornelius in Caesarea having a vision where an angel of the Lord gives him instructions to fetch a man named Peter from Joppa.
Scene two has Peter in Joppa having three strange conversations during a single vision involving animals and sheets while upon the rooftop in the middle of the day.
God prepares each to encounter the other; and this exchange will change the course of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
This isn't the first time we see this principle, that God works simultaneously on multiple fronts, at work. Early on in Israel's history God prepares, in the old country, a spouse for Abraham and Sarah's son, Isaac, in Canaan (Genesis 22:20-24). Neither Isaac nor Rebekah is unhappy with the arrangement.
Think about how God works in the lives of those taken captive to Babylon (Daniel, Esther, etc.) while He also works in the lives of the remnant remaining in Jerusalem (Hulda, Jeremiah, etc.). This simple truth seen in these narratives and many others, may seem insignificant to some but to the parent who has a prodigal wondering out there somewhere and to the single girl or guy fulfilling God's calling while waiting upon God's partner this truth keeps the coals of faith red hot.
Through these events Peter realizes the sovereign hand of God working behind the scenes to accomplish purposes bigger than those of Peter or anyone around him can see or understand at the time until both scenes intersect.
Only an eternal vantage point allows the believer to see what God is up to. Faith in the God who works of two fronts simultaneously will carry you through when all you see is the here and the now.
Questions for today's Chronological reading:
- What event brings Peter from Lydda to Joppa?
- What kind of testimony does Tabatha have with those in Joppa?
- Who is Cornelius and what is taking place in his life?
- What does Peter learn about God, about the gospel, about himself, and about the Gentiles through his vision and later interaction with Cornelius?
- How does the Lord speak specifically to Peter? What does this teach you about the Holy Spirit?
- Remember the disciples' discussion about which disciple was the greatest earlier on? What happened in Peter's life that cured him of using his relationship with Christ to fulfill personal ambition?
- What does God do to confirm that the gospel of Jesus Christ includes Gentiles?
Ask the Lord to allow you to see how your life and obedience connect with the lives of others as He carries out His purposes in our generation.