Don't be 'This People'
“And after they had argued back and forth among themselves, they left with this final word from Paul: “The Holy Spirit was right when he said to your ancestors through Isaiah the prophet, ‘Go and say to this people: When you hear what I say, you will not understand. When you see what I do, you will not comprehend. For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes—so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.’” ~ Acts 28:25-27
Here Paul has gathered the local Jewish leaders in Rome to explain about the Kingdom of God and to try to persuade them about Jesus from Scriptures. He talked with them from morning until evening, and while some were persuaded, others refused to believe. It was pointed out to me recently that in other places in Scripture God uses the phrase ‘my people,’ but here He says, ‘this people.’ Those who refuse to comprehend, even though they were born into the race called ‘chosen people’ or ‘people of God,’ are demoted to ‘this people.’
We need to ask ourselves, “In what areas of my life have I hardened my heart? Where do I refuse to see what God is trying to show me? What is He trying to tell me that I am refusing to hear?”
Have we tried to hide areas of our lives from God? Do we allow him to come into only certain areas of our lives? If so, we have hardened our hearts. We need to be willing to allow God to deal with every part of our hearts and lives holding nothing back.
We need to care more about God’s perspective and opinion than that of others, or even our own. Have you seen the videos circulating online of people who were born color-blind, but who are given special glasses that allow them to see colors as they were meant to be seen? They’re usually so overcome with emotion, they can hardly speak. Do they see something totally new? Of course not. Those trees were always there. Their children existed before. The difference is that they finally see things as they really are. The leaves on the trees are green. Their children have gorgeous red hair or brilliant blue eyes. We need to be willing to allow God to show us things from His point of view, as they really are.
There are times when parents and children talk to each other without really understanding what the other is trying to say. We need to ask God to give us ears to hear, to truly understand what He is trying to tell us in His word and our lives.
I don’t know about you, but I would much rather God call me, ‘my people,’ than, ‘this people.’ So, what about you? I want to belong to God, but to do that, I have to allow God to work and hold nothing back.