Daily Devotional – I’m Normal.™ I AM Ministries
“To promote Godly living in a culture committed to destroying it”
Thursday, March 24, 2016
A dear family friend of ours named LeRoy used to tell us stories of the country life he experienced growing up overt 80 years ago. This included regaling us with examples of how dumb crows were. As a teenager, LeRoy had discovered crows couldn’t count, and he used this observation to his advantage and the crow’s demise.
One of LeRoy’s tasks on the family farm was to shoot crows, annoying pests that damaged their corn harvest. LeRoy and a brother or two would walk from the house to a shed on the far side of the corn field. As the humans made their journey to the shed, the crows exited the corn field, “crowing” at their misfortune of an interrupted feast. The crows knew from experience not to venture into the field for fear of being shot.
After a few minutes, one of the brothers would walk back to the house, leaving the others in the shed. Because the crows could not count, they considered one human returning to the house as equivalent to all humans returning to the house. They thought they were safe again and flocked to the field. This is when LeRoy and his brother would open fire and bring death to the birds.
As with the crows, the Pharisees must have thought they had rid themselves of the dangerous human when they had Jesus crucified on the Cross. Jesus’ power and authority had perplexed them. They had feared He would pillage their “field” or “harvest” of believers and would empty their synagogues, leaving them embarrassed, without jobs, respect, or income. They were counting on the fact that by eliminating the troublesome human, Jesus, they and their religious institutions were safe. Now, they were “crowing” about their accomplishment and looking forward to a bright future.
They were also counting on success after breaking the alliance of Jesus’ closest group of followers. Judas had betrayed Jesus for the price of a mere slave, thirty pieces of silver. Without Jesus to protect the remaining eleven disciples, the Pharisees must have assumed they could eliminate these remaining “crows” who were pilfering their followers. As mere humans, the disciples were known to be disorganized and often lacking in faith. Surely the tight-knit, organized, and powerful Pharisees could decimate a rag-tag assemblage of uneducated fishermen and corrupt tax collectors.
Even if the disciples managed to hang together, what damage could they possibly do? They were back up to twelve men after they elected Matthias (Acts 1:26), but how could they spread the Gospel very far or effectively? They lacked modern communications such as the internet, television, radio, or other rapid and far-reaching means of sharing the Word. They needed to rely on word of mouth, their own feet, and maybe, on a good day, a donkey to carry them about. The disciples were not known for miracles as Jesus was; what possible effect could these men have on the world?
At first the Pharisees logic seemed impeccable and their plan effective. Their great ally Saul of Tarsus was persecuting fiercely the Christians and disciples, now apostles, sending them underground and out of sight. Saul had Stephen stoned (Acts 7:54-60) and then redoubled his efforts (Acts 8:1-3). Shortly thereafter, James was beheaded; now they counted only eleven apostles and Peter was in prison. The Pharisees were counting on Peter’s imminent demise and thinking soon only ten apostles would be left. Jesus’ chosen few were falling like dominos. Surely the Pharisees thought they had broken the back of this renegade religion.
The Pharisees failed to consider Jesus’ infinite size, power, and authority, coupled with the power of God the Father and the Holy Spirit. Despite the Pharisees’ interference, the Word of God spread like wildfire (Acts 6:7). Then, in a stunning reversal, Saul of Tarsus flipped spiritually 180 degrees and joined the apostles to proclaim the Gospel (Acts 9:1-19). With even more zeal than he put into persecuting Christians, Saul, now Paul, worked fearlessly and tirelessly to spread the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
It is never normal to count God out of the picture, even when He seems to have only minimal resources in place on Earth. The Pharisees were counting down the “crows” who had infested their religious field, and determined they were manageable. God, as He does so often, seized the opportunity to display His Glory and power by doing so much with so little. With His power, the apostles changed the world. If you count anything, count on God. His faithfulness and power cannot fail. How will you count on Him today?
In His love and service,
A servant of Jesus Christ
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