1 Kings 2:1-25; Acts 5:12-42; Psalms 124:7-8; Proverbs 27:13
OT: “As the time approached for David to die, he ordered his son Solomon, “As for me, I am going the way of all of the earth. Be strong and be a man, and keep your obligation to the Lord your God to walk in his ways and to keep his statutes, commands, ordinances, and decrees. This is written in the law of Moses, so that you will have success in everything you do and wherever you turn, and so that the Lord will fulfill his promise that he made to me: ‘If your sons take care to walk faithfully before me with all their heart and all their soul, you will never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.’” (1 Kings 2:1-4 CSB)
In King David’s parting words to Solomon, his son and heir to the throne, he said be strong and be a man. Then David went on to tell Solomon how to be a strong man. It wasn’t lift weights and become yoked… it wasn’t become a valiant warrior… it wasn’t play sports… it wasn’t drive a big truck… it wasn’t be attractive to the ladies… it wasn’t any of the things that we use to define manhood on our culture. David said, to be a strong man, keep your obligation to the Lord, walk in His ways, honor His word, and obey His will. That is the mark of a strong man: someone who is humble and submitted to God. When you honor and obey God, everything else that you need will fall into place.
NT: “Many signs and wonders were being done among the people through the hands of the apostles. They were all together in Solomon’s Colonnade. No one else dared to join them, but the people spoke well of them. Believers were added to the Lord in increasing numbers — multitudes of both men and women. As a result, they would carry the sick out into the streets and lay them on cots and mats so that when Peter came by, at least his shadow might fall on some of them. In addition, a multitude came together from the towns surrounding Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed. Then the high priest rose up. He and all who were with him, who belonged to the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. So they arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail… After they brought them in, they had them stand before the Sanhedrin, and the high priest asked, “Didn’t we strictly order you not to teach in this name? Look, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.” Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than people… When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them. But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law who was respected by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered the men to be taken outside for a little while. He said to them, “Men of Israel, be careful about what you’re about to do to these men… So in the present case, I tell you, stay away from these men and leave them alone. For if this plan or this work is of human origin, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even be found fighting against God.” They were persuaded by him. After they called in the apostles and had them flogged, they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus and released them. Then they went out from the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to be treated shamefully on behalf of the Name. Every day in the temple, and in various homes, they continued teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.” (Acts 5:12-18, 27-29, 33-35, 38-42 CSB)
Even though the Apostles and their community of believers were severely threatened by the religious leaders, they continued (by the power and fullness of the Holy Spirit) to proclaim the name of Jesus and demonstrate the truth of their gospel message through amazing signs and wonders. They didn’t proclaim Jesus’ name as an act of protest. They did so out of an act of obedience. They weren’t disobeying the law – they were ignoring threats… much like Nehemiah continued building the wall around Jerusalem even after he was threatened. Because the Apostles were obeying God, they had a good reputation among the people. The religious leaders disliked them – not because the apostles were purposefully making themselves a spectacle, but because the religious leaders were jealous. Because the Apostles obeyed God, they put themselves on the side of the unfailing and unshakable will and purposes of God. Did they face trials? Were they arrested? Were they publicly flogged? Were they eventually killed? Yes, they were… but because they obeyed God, they became history makers and changed the world… and God’s purposes that began in and through them have yet to be overthrown.