By Jessie Moser
Today's Scripture: Acts 8:14-40
Central Thought: Receive the power of the Holy Spirit; don't miss the Spirit.
When I first read about Simon the sorcerer offering money to Peter and John for the ability to lay hands on people to receive the Holy Spirit, I thought Peter's rebuke of Simon was bitter and hard. Acts 8:20 in particular seemed to me harsh and mean spirited. But my husband looked up the verse in Matthew Henry's commentary and found a compelling rationale to explain Peter's words. First, the apostle Peter was gifted by God to discern the heart of Simon. Simon's motives were wrong and Peter knew it. Second, Simon didn't say, 'Lay hands on me that I might have the power of the Holy Spirit to live a holy life.” Simon wanted instead to buy the power of the Holy Spirit so he could benefit financially in the same way he had through his prior use of sorcery. For these reasons, Peter seemed to be justified in the way that he spoke to Simon.
Although God sometimes uses words that are harsh, the rebuke and discipline of God is meant to jar us to repentance and bring us back into right relationship with Him. His words are not meant to drive us away. How did Simon respond to Peter's rebuke? Did he repent? Simon says, 'Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me” (verse 24). I'm struck that he did not say,” Lay hands on me that the power of God may change my heart.” Simon appears to be asking only that nothing bad would happen to him. He missed the power of the Holy Spirit in his life. Do many of us also miss out on this power? Pray that you might receive the Holy Spirit and live a life of victory. Let God's kingdom come to earth as it is in heaven.
Devotional Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to examine our motives as we pray for the power of the Holy Spirit. Help us to have the right motives as You change us through Your Spirit. Help us to lead lives that are pleasing to You. Let us not be blind to our own motivations like Simon. Instead, give us a desire to repent so we will not miss the fullness of what You have for us through Your wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit.
Today's Bible Reading: 1 Kings 9:1-10:29; Acts 8:14-40; Psalm 130:1-8; Proverbs 17:2-3