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Foundations of Obedience

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Acts 2:1-4

Acts chapter 2 is a well known chapter; it recounts the coming of the promised Holy Spirit and the amazing start to the church in Jerusalem. As a result of these 2 things, the gospel spread throughout the entire world. God sent the Holy Spirit at just the right time.

As I reflected on these verses I was struck by the timing of these events and all that had taken place before this day. The day of Pentecost was 50 days after the start of Passover; therefore, it had been 50 days since the disciples ate with Jesus in the upper room. How turbulent these 7 weeks were. It is likely that the disciples were in the same upper room on Pentecost as they were when this all started. They saw Jesus betrayed, mocked, beaten, wrongfully accused, crucified, and buried. Jesus then appeared to them and taught them and encouraged them over the span of 40 days. Then the disciples witnessed Jesus ascend to heaven. Right before Jesus ascended He told the disciples that they were to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit. He did not give them an exact time frame. He just told them that they were to remain together and wait until the Spirit came. 

After 43 or so days of intense action and emotion, going through valleys of despair and peaks of joy, they were now supposed to go to Jerusalem and wait. And the disciples did just that—they waited. They waited together for roughly a week’s time. This may not seem like much, but this is obedience. Waiting is not always easy, especially since they knew they were also entrusted with taking the message of the gospel to the world. I am sure they were somewhat antsy to get out and do something. However, instead of taking matters into their own hands, they waited. 

In contrast, 1 Samuel 13 tells us of Saul who was the first king of Israel. He was waiting for the prophet Samuel to come offer a sacrifice before they went out to battle against the Philistines. However, after 7 days Saul grew impatient and took matters into his own hands and offered the sacrifice himself. Saul disobeyed God’s command to wait for Samuel and in so doing began a path that led to his downfall.

So while Acts 2:1 may not seem like a verse that normally sticks out, it stuck out to me. The disciples obeyed the command that Jesus gave them. They waited on Him. God blessed their obedience by sending the Holy Spirit at just the right time. They honored God, and He used them to accomplish a great work. God’s greatest works are built on a foundation of simple obedience. He does not need us to take things into our own hands, He wants us to follow what He has set before us. May we follow the disciple’s example and obey what God has set right in front of us. He will continue to work in His time.

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