7/29/15: It’s Not What It Looks Like
Have you ever come to a conclusion before completely investigating all of your options? If so, you may have been embarrassed about your original thought because more information revealed new truth. Our conclusions based on what we see at first are not necessarily accurate. We see evidence of this truth in the Bible.
Acts 28:1-6 relates part of Paul’s journey to Rome. After escaping a terrible storm, they found themselves on the island of Malta. Here’s the account:
Now when they had escaped, they then found out that the island was called Malta. And the natives showed us unusual kindness; for they kindled a fire and made us all welcome, because of the rain that was falling and because of the cold. But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand. So when the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not allow to live.” But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. However, they were expecting that he would swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had looked for a long time and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god. (NKJ)
The natives of Malta knew Paul was being transported to Rome as a prisoner, so when they saw he was bitten by the snake, their first conclusion made sense to them—“No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not allow to live.”
However, upon further observation, they changed their conclusion, again based upon what they had seen. “But after they had looked for a long time and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.”
Here’s the kicker—both times their conclusions were wrong. This teaches us that even though we observe activities with our eyes, our conclusions about what we see could still be incorrect based upon missing information. The citizens of Malta were missing information about Paul’s spiritual identity. He wasn’t a murderer and he wasn’t a god. Paul was a representative of the Kingdom of God and the power of God was working on his behalf.
When observing God’s people, it behooves us to be careful about the conclusions we draw based upon what we see. Especially before drawing negative conclusions, we should gather all the evidence. And our conclusions must take into account the fact that God is working on their behalf. Just because a viper may have bitten them—or some other serious problem has arisen—that doesn’t mean they can’t ever be all right again. We cannot allow problems to define us or our estimation of others.
(c)2015 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.
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