Beehive, symbol of industry. Capitol building, Salt Lake City, Utah
Sunday, 23 October 2022
When I observed it intently and considered, I saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. Acts 11:6
Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)
You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).
Peter just described the object descending like a great sheet [sail] that came down from heaven. He now explains what was in it. The translation of the NKJV does not get the verbs right, and each category is preceded by an article. A more proper rendering is, “at which having looked steadfastly, I was considering, and I saw the quadrupeds of the earth, and the wild beasts, and the creeping things, and the birds of the heaven” (CG).
Peter’s words, “at which having looked steadfastly,” are not found in Acts 10. He is describing his own personal mental state at the curious sight that had been presented to him. He obviously was quite curious about what he was seeing. With that state of mind, he continues with, “I was considering.”
The verb is imperfect. He didn’t just consider and then move on. Rather, he was engaged in an ongoing thought process. During his considerations, he then notes what was presented to him, saying, “and I saw the quadrupeds of the earth, and the wild beasts, and the creeping things, and the birds of the heaven.”
This is a close repeat of the words of verse 10:12. He is carefully recounting what was first presented to his sight at that time. Each category is stated with an article to show that these were not a couple of animals of each category, but rather an innumerable – even all-inclusive – number of them. Peter is seeing a world full of otherwise unclean animals interspersed with whatever few clean animals there are in relation to the whole.
Life application: We tend to place a high value on animals we are favorable towards. In the US, people love their dogs. When a photo of a Chinese meat market is seen that includes caged dogs waiting to be sold for food, activists get out and protest at the horror of such a thing.
And yet, those same people will go to the local steakhouse for dinner and have a big meaty steak. Are dogs more important than cows? In the end, Peter is being asked to consider things from God’s perspective. This is His world, and He has ordained all things to be eaten by man.
During the time of the law, this was changed for one group of people to teach the world a lesson about the coming Messiah. Outside of that, the people of the world are all in need of a Savior. Are we going to pick and choose which are acceptable for evangelism and which are not? Or are we going to direct our attention toward how God sees things?
Let us not get caught up in personal or cultural biases and condemn others because of what they eat. Let us also not decide that some people or some people groups are not to be included in our evangelistic efforts. God sent Jesus into the world for all people. Let us have that attitude as we conduct our affairs.
Lord God, the only difference between those who have been saved and those who have not yet been saved is the act of acceptance of the gospel message. Other than that, we are all sinners in need of a Savior. Help us to remember this and not get smug in our state of salvation. Someone took the time to tell us about Jesus. Now, help us to do the same. To Your glory, we pray. Amen.