‘And wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision.’ Acts 12:9
Suggested Further Reading: Habakkuk 2:1–4
Peter’s case was put into God’s hands. The company that met at the house of Mary, the mother of Mark, were appealing to the great Advocate. If any man be in prison, ‘we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.’ With their humble prayers and tears they were pleading for their brother, whose valuable life they could ill afford to spare, for the infant church needed the apostles at least for a season. I think I hear them pleading one after the other—‘Lord, remember Peter! Thou knowest how we love him; our desires go up for him. Let not Peter be slain! Oh, take not thou the prop from under us! Remove not the pillar from the wall, nor the stone from its place.’ The Lord has heard their cries. Peter’s cause is in his hand. He will interfere in due time. The assurance that prayer is heard is the earnest that prayer will be answered. The petition is accepted, though no answer has yet been received. Well, we can leave it there. But see, brethren, Peter has been lying in prison the whole week. The feast of unleavened bread is over, it is the last night—the last night! The evening has crept on; the dark hours have set in; it is midnight. The sun will soon be rising—in a few more hours—and then where is Peter? Lord, if thou do not interfere, where is Peter? If thou come not now to help him his blood shall make the populace of Jerusalem glad while they gloat and delight in his slaughter! Yes, but just at that last and darkest hour of the night, God’s opportunity overtook man’s extremity. A light shone in the dungeon. Peter was awakened. God never is before his time; nor is he ever too late; he comes just when he is needed.
For meditation: Many of our problems and much false doctrine (e.g. evolution, the mass, instant sanctification, purgatory and annihilation) illustrate the fact that God’s thoughts and ways are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8–9); the human heart displays a strong resistance to God’s time scales and speeds (2 Peter 3:8–9). Sometimes his apparent delays and slowness to act test our faith to its limits (John 11:6,21,32,39).
Sermon no. 526
9 January (Undated Sermon)