The Illusion of Control

Indeed all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.  But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. (2 Timothy 3:12-13)

Paul leaves little “wiggle room” here.  He’s dogmatic about persecution and its sources.  Through the ages it has usually been the people or groups who were ruling the governments and/or cultures that have perpetrated the persecution against God’s servants. Sadly, sometime the so-called “church” was complicit in these persecutions (that is, the apostate church, which had become drunk with it’s own delusion of control!)  They are “in control” and feel they have the right or liberty to use their power to hinder or silence those who preach Jesus.

A great example of this can be seen in the Herods who ruled in Judea in the first-Century A.D.  These guys wielded Rome’s power in Judea.  Their title was “king of the Jews”.  They invariably used this power to resist God’s servants and God’s word.  All the male babies in Bethlehem were slaughtered by Herod the Great, as he tried to kill the newly born “King of the Jews.”  But an angel had warned Joseph to take Mary and baby Jesus to Egypt.

Thirty years later, another Herod had John the Baptist imprisoned and beheaded.  This he did because John confronted him for living in adultery with his brother’s wife.  Shortly thereafter, this same Herod along with Pilate, was involved in the murder of Jesus Christ.  But Peter tells us in Acts 4:27-28 that these wicked rulers did only what God’s hand and purpose had predestined to occur!  So maybe they weren’t as much in control as they thought!

Later another Herod takes the throne in Judea.  He orders that James the apostle be arrested and murdered.  This was so pleasing to the unbelieving Jews that Herod decided to capitalize on the momentum and have Peter arrested and killed as well (see Acts 12).  But the church prayed fervently and God sent an angel to loose Peter from the jail.  The soldiers who were supposedly in control of the jail found out that they weren’t in charge after all!  They all lost their heads for their failure to control the situation!

Shortly after Peter’s miraculous escape from prison, Herod was giving a speech to some emissaries from Tyre.  After he finished, the people starting shouting out, “the words of a god and not a man.”  The Bible says that because Herod did not give the glory to God and believed the lie that he was in control, he was suddenly struck down by an angel of the Lord and died on the spot.  These are remarkable occurrences.  And I find at least two clear applications for us.

1.  Be careful that you don’t deceive yourself into thinking that you (or anyone else) are ultimately in control! God may spoil your little delusion at any moment.

2. As a child of God, don’t ever give in to despair or hopelessness, even when evil people seem to prevail.  God is mysteriously working even when you don’t see Him.  And He has promised to even take what evil people do and turn it around for a longer term blessing for His people.  Keep on trusting God.  He is always in full control and He always has the last say.

Comfort yourself with these absolute truths.  Amen.

One thought on “The Illusion of Control

  1. Kelli says:

    Hi Dane Another good blog and very appropos truth! Too many people hang their hats of faith on things that are not “absolutes” and when they either don’t come to pass, or they do in a way that wasn’t what they wanted, their faith wavers. All we have is the Word of God and the character of God in which to cling. He is always faithful and His Word never lies. I’m thankful I serve such a God – and I’m thankful for the voices in the wilderness (such as yours) that speaks truth in such turbulent times. Keep preaching truth; it’s the only thing that will set the captives free. ~Kelli

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