On Bible passages

ThE cEnTuRiOn LiStEnS

Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.

Acts 10:33, NIV

I was reading in the Bible about Cornelius, the centurion. Had I lived in the time of the early Church, I would have loved to meet this man. In Acts 10 we learn that he was a devout man, prayed regularly and gave generously to the people. We also read that all his household followed in his footsteps. Everyone agreed that he was a good man.

Most of all, Cornelius listened to God. An angel came to him with a message; he was to fetch Simon Peter, who would teach him the ways of the Lord. From that moment on Cornelius gave himself no rest, until Peter had come to his household. He practically dragged Peter into his house. Not only that, but he made sure that his family and friends were there to hear the message too. ‘Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.’ They were eager and reverent listeners!

Are we people who listen? Do we know how to come expectantly into the presence of God? Do we sense when God wants to talk to us? We all need to ask ourselves these questions. Cornelius’ story teaches us to pray, to be quick to obey when God gives a command and to be teachable – to be humble.

But the part that thrills me most in this story is, although we may do all we can to follow God, He is also involved in our lives and doesn’t leave us to struggle on by ourselves. Cornelius was following God with all his heart, but to move forward he needed God’s special word at this particular moment in his journey.

‘He (Peter) will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved’ (Acts 11:14). This message was a matter of life or death for Cornelius. He recognized it and God rewarded his obedience. ‘While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message’ (Acts 10:44).

Are you taking time to listen carefully to all that God wants to say to you?

Prayer: Father, I thank You that being a Christian means walking with You. It’s not just me trying to follow You, but You ‘follow’ my progress too. Lord, would You please help me to recognize Your presence and Your voice. Would You help me to pray and expect You to answer? I love You Father! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


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