Surprised by God

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Picture of a prison

In today’s Bible reading in Acts 12, we see that Herod kills James. Because the Jewish leaders respond favorably, Herod imprisons Peter, presumably to be executed.

Knowing how badly things have turned out in the past with Jesus and His followers, Herod assigns four squads of soldiers to guard Peter. This seems like overkill since there were four soldiers in a squad. The idea was that during each of the three night watches, there would be four soldiers, awake and guarding just one man! It turns out that an entire legion of soldiers (5,800) would not have been enough!

When an angel woke up Peter, he thought he was seeing a vision (Acts 12:9). But he followed the angel out of the prison and realized that he had truly been delivered from certain death. He immediately headed to John Mark’s mother’s house, thinking the disciples were gathered to pray. When the servant girl told everyone that Peter was outside the door, they assumed it was his ghost.

Both Peter and the people gathered to pray weren’t expecting God to do what He was doing. They were truly surprised by God.


John Piper has said that God is always doing 10,000 things in your life and you may be aware of three of them.

God doesn’t always work the way we expect. And He often surprises us. He reminds us that He’s God and we aren’t. And that’s always good! I know that if it were up to me, I would surely mess things up. Every. Time.

God is good all the time. Spend some time today asking Him to show you those three things He is doing in your life clearly.

And then praise Him for it!

* Chapters covered in today’s reading:
Acts 12
Acts 13
Acts 14

This devotional was originally published on February 7, 2019.

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