A Good Time to Heed Gamaliel's Advice

While many people are in a celebratory mood following the results of the recent election, many others continue to predict dire consequences from the new administration. It reminds me of the account in the book of Acts describing the response of the Sanhedrin–leaders of the religious sect of the Pharisees–to the birth and rapid growth of the early church.

We read in Acts 5:17-18 that because of the powerful impact of their teaching, the apostles were thrown in jail by the Jewish High Priest and Sadducees. During their first night in jail, God freed them by sending an angel (vs 19) so that they could continue preaching the gospel. This led to a second effort to silence them.
 
Luke, the author of Acts, records that the apostles were apprehended by the temple police and brought before the Sanhedrin to explain their actions (vss. 26-28). This is where Gamaliel–a leader of the Pharisees who was widely  respected for his wisdom–intervened in order to put things in perspective for those who were overcome with negative emotions:
 
He said to them, “Men of Israel, be careful about what you’re going to do to these men… And now, I tell you, stay away from these men and leave them alone.  For if this plan or this work is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them.  You may even be found fighting against God.” So they were persuaded by him (Acts 35, 38-39).

With respect to the recent election, Mrs. Clinton voiced similar thoughts in encouraging her supporters to “give him (Trump) a chance.”
 
I believe the safest and wisest approach is to follow the counsel of Gamaliel. This means that we are wise to allow for the possibility that the new administration will produce undeniably positive results. But it also means that we are wise to allow for the possibility that the new administration will fall short of expectations.
 
We must also remember that God can even use evil to achieve His divine purposes–which is illustrated throughout Scripture. For example, check out what Luke wrote in his gospel in Chapter 23:6-12. Then consider Principle 49 in my Life Essentials Study Bible that grows out of this passage:
 
Even when evil leaders engage in terrible acts of violence in order to achieve their own selfish goals, we are to acknowledge God’s overall sovereign control over events in history.   
 
Nevertheless, based on recent appointments and public statements, it seems there are indications that the new administration will bring about some significant improvements. We should certainly be praying for the President-elect, his inner-circle, for members of Congress and “all those who are in authority” (1 Tim. 2:2). This is a God-given mandate for all Christians.

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