11/12/Th – Unshaken

1 Kings 2:26-3:2; Acts 6:1-6; Psalms 125:1-3; Proverbs 27:14

NT: “In those days, as the disciples were increasing in number, there arose a complaint by the Hellenistic Jews against the Hebraic Jews that their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution. The Twelve summoned the whole company of the disciples and said, “It would not be right for us to give up preaching the word of God to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and wisdom, whom we can appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” This proposal pleased the whole company. So they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a convert from Antioch. They had them stand before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.” (‭‭Acts‬ ‭6:1-6‬ ‭CSB)

As the Jerusalem church grew, they began to experience growing pains. Hellenistic Jews were Jews that were not from Israel and most likely did not speak Aramaic or Hebrew – they were Greek speaking Jews who had grown up in a Greek-influenced culture. They were “outsiders” and began to feel left out. By this time, the church in Jerusalem had reached “megachurch” status and was too large for the Apostles to effectively manage all of it’s activities. Instead of trying to continue doing everything themselves, they determined to equip others in the body for the work of ministry. The qualifications for these new delegates: they needed to have a good reputation, be full of the Spirit, and full of wisdom. Too many times, churches leave the work of ministry to the pastor – and the expect the pastor to be a spiritual super man. That is not how Jesus desires for His church to be organized. Ephesians 4:11-12 explained that Jesus gave leadership roles to some, not so that the few would do everything, but that the few would equip the rest of the church for the work of ministry. That is exactly what the Apostles did: they remained in their equipping role of prayer and the ministry of the word, while they laid hands on and empowered other qualified men to oversee the work of ministry. The crisis was averted and the church was able to keep growing and meeting the needs of the community.

Psalms: “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion. It cannot be shaken; it remains forever. The mountains surround Jerusalem and the Lord surrounds his people, both now and forever.” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭125:1-2‬ ‭CSB)

This psalm is a song of ascent that would have been sung by Jewish pilgrims as they ascended into Jerusalem and climbed the slope of Mount Zion to reach the temple. The imagery of the surrounding landscape would have made this psalm become real to the singer. Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion… lifted up for all to see, stable and unshakable, and defended by mountains on every side. What a great word for us now, when it seems like so many things around us are being shaken… when people and systems we placed trust in are proving to be fallible… when much or our current experience is draped in uncertainty. If we place our trust primarily in the Lord… if we keep our eyes on Jesus… if we don’t get distracted by the noise of the storms all around us, we will not be shaken and we will be protected on every side.

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