A fair hearing ∙
If they are planning and doing these things merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown. But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God! – Acts 5:38-39
10 That very night the believers sent Paul and Silas to Berea. When they arrived there, they went to the Jewish synagogue.
11 And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.
12 As a result, many Jews believed, as did many of the prominent Greek women and men.
Antonio Inoki was the greatest wrestler ever to step in the ring in Asia. He was one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. He was considered a bona fide “living” legend in Asia. He was one of the first top wrestlers to compete in “real” fights. Inoki is among the most respected men in sports entertainment.
Inoki’s most famous bout, however, took place on June 26, 1976, in Tokyo when he took on fighting the world champion boxer Muhammad in a rare wrestler vs. boxer match. It paved the way for the onset of Mixed Martial Arts, which would explode in popularity decades later. Inoki loved to wrestle.
The number of people who are professional wrestlers is quite limited. The number of people that make a profession of wrestling with God is countless. Benajah Carroll was such a man. But he was willing to give God a fair hearing.
On December 27, 1843, Benajah Carroll was born in Carrollton, Mississippi, the seventh of twelve children of a Baptist minister. When Benajah was five, the family moved to Texas.
Despite his Christian background, he became a fervent and outspoken atheist. Near the beginning of the Civil War, Benajah joined the rough-and-tumble Texas Rangers. During the war, he was wounded and released from the army.
He wound up going to an old-fashioned Methodist camp meeting. The Methodist minister challenged the audience to “make a practical, experimental test” of Christianity and to give Jesus Christ a fair trial. When he asked people to come forward who were willing to take the test and give God a try, Benajah stood and went to the front.
While his Christian friends were very pleased, if not shocked, Benajah explained that he was not converted. Rather, he came forward only to take the challenge and give Christianity a fair hearing. The Father had other plans. As he rode home, he stopped in the woods. He got into a “real” with the Father. He got down on his knees, he wrestled with Him. He “had it out with the Lord.” The Lord won! (christianity.com)
No one ever beats the Father at wrestling. Many rough-and-tumble individuals have taken on the Father, only to limp the rest of their lives (Genesis 32:25). Never assume any heart is beyond the Father’s reach, even yours!
REFLECT & PRAY
“The Word of God is like a lion. You don’t have to defend a lion. All you have to do is let the lion loose, and the lion will defend itself” (Charles Spurgeon).
Father, thank You for giving me a chance to give You a chance. Somehow You were able to open my closed mind. You stirred my curiosity and launched me into searching the Scriptures, day by day, to discover the Truth for myself. You overcame my unbelief and skepticism. You answered my questions using Your Word. I was soon lion’s food.
What is the Bible about? What is its theme? Who is the featured main character? Does it have personal meaning for you today?
The Lord Jesus Christ claimed that He was the central character of all Scripture. It all pointed to Him.
John 5:39 Search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!
Many people know of the Bible, but few actually know it. In your lifetime, have you ever searched the Scriptures? Have you ever examined them for yourself to determine their truthfulness? Are you willing to give it a try? Are you willing to be open-minded and allow the Scriptures to speak to you for themselves?
Acts 17:11 And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.
The Greek term translated as noble or open-minded is eugenes. Eugenes describes people are open-minded, fair, thoughtful, and without prejudice. The Jewish searchers were receptive to the truth.
“Their nobility of character was demonstrated in two practical ways. First, they received the message with great eagerness, responding enthusiastically because they realized its relevance to their own lives (cf. Acts2:41). Second, they examined the Scriptures every day (‘day by day’) to see if what Paul said was true” (Peterson).
Some people actively search for the truth. The Bereans were that kind of people. They were curious and eager to receive Paul’s message. However, they refused to take his word for it. They did their homework. They exercised due diligence and daily examined the Scriptures for themselves to see if the things that Paul was teaching were correct.
The Father has provided His word and has given us the intellectual capacity to examine it for ourselves. Are you willing to give the Father and His book a fair chance?
The basic information found in the Scriptures is clear and comprehensible. It can be understood by ordinary people. All it takes is honest curiosity.
Through the millennia, untold millions have come to the Scriptures with substantial doubts, questions, objections, and criticisms steeped in skepticism and unbelief. Often the Bible is labeled incorrectly. While it is easy to put a label on a bottle. But what if the label and the contents of the bottle do not match?
The Bible invites this type of scrutiny. Give it a try. Give the Father a fair hearing. What do you have to lose?.
Psalms 34:8 Taste and see that the LORD is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!