Acts 4:24

At York residence, Pall Mall, TN

Wednesday, 26 January 2022

So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, Acts 4:24

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 and John returned to their own group and reported to them everything that the council had said to them. With this noted, Luke now records the actions of the group, beginning with, “So when they heard that.”

This refers to the news concerning the words of the council. The reaction that happens next is based on hearing the report of the council’s rejection of Peter’s words concerning Jesus. This includes the explanation for how the sign that had been performed in the healing of the man had come about. Everything about the occasion called out that Jesus is alive, and He is Lord. And yet, their words had been rejected. With this understood, it next says, “they raised their voice to God.”

The idea here is that of an outwardly expressive voice. It is a Hebraism, corresponding to the word nasa (to lift, carry, or take) found throughout the Old Testament. One could lift his voice in mourning (Genesis 21:16) or in tears of joy (Genesis 29:11). One could lift his voice in distress (Genesis 27:38) or in terror (Isaiah 10:3). Entire groups could lift up a united voice for any such reason as well (2 Chronicles 5:13). In this case now in Acts, it says that this was done by the people “with one accord.”

It is a united lifting of the voice by the people. Thus, it is to be considered in the same light as the last example cited above from 2 Chronicles 5:13 –

indeed it came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying:
For He is good,
For His mercy endures forever,”
that the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud,

As the words of the next verse in Acts will be the citing of a portion of Psalm 2, it appears that the words of this verse now are actually sung out, just as the words of a psalm were lifted up in 2 Chronicles 5. If so, it would be done either in harmony or antiphonally. Further, if this is the case, it is the earliest singing of a hymn to the Lord in the church age that is recorded in Scripture. This appears to be likely, and it is a beautiful expression of the state of the people’s minds as they united their voices together “and said: ‘Lord, You are God.’”

Here, a particular word for “Lord,” despotés, signifying the Sovereign Lord, is used. It signifies an authority figure, like a master or even a husband who has complete authority and jurisdiction, and who wields total and unrestricted power in his realm. Being a reference to God, it signifies the Sovereign Lord who has complete and total authority over the universe, meaning temporally, spiritually, chronologically, and so on. Everything is within His power and ultimately under His rule.

The word was first used in Luke 2:29 when Simeon beheld God’s Messiah and uttered out a song of joy. This is its second of ten uses in Scripture. Both Peter and Jude will use the term and apply it to Jesus. In the Old Testament, it is used to refer to the Angel of the Lord and to the Lord directly as well. With this address stated, it next says, “who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them.”

It is a citation from Psalm 146 –

“Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help,
Whose hope is in the Lord his God,
Who made heaven and earth,
The sea, and all that is in them;
Who keeps truth forever,” Psalm 146:5, 6

This psalm goes on to speak of “those who are bowed down” in verse 8. As such, it is an appropriate psalm to recite, even if only in part. The beggar who was raised up was the act that began the entire process, and he may very well have been there among the disciples at this time. Either way, the point of citing this psalm is to acknowledge the absolute sovereignty of the Lord.

The general thought expressed in the words is found again in Revelation 14 –

“Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people— saying with a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.’” Revelation 14:6, 7

Life application: Paul says elsewhere –

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:16, 17

He says this same general thought in Ephesians 5:19 as well. This is something that will turn our minds to higher things and away from the world around us. In having songs that exalt God nearby, we will be less likely to think on the immoral or perverse. It is a good way to stay in tune with God and His word.

Having said that, this can become a source of legalism with some. Anything can be taken to an unintended extreme. What starts out with good intent suddenly becomes a source of pride or personal exaltation. “How could you listen to that radio station? I only listen to Christian songs on my radio!” Suddenly what is a personal choice to stay in tune with the Lord becomes a way of accusing others of being “less spiritual.”

This can occur with types of dress, personal choices concerning things such as drinking alcohol, and so on. Anything can become a personal idol or a means of exalting oneself in the presence of others. So, let us live our lives to God, be examples to others of what we value in our relationship with Him, but not act as if our personal choices are the only way to express ourselves properly before the Lord.

Paul gave his exhortation, and it should be followed. But we also have freedom to do things not explicitly forbidden in Scripture. Let us be wise, circumspect, and gracious in our conduct around and toward others.

Gracious heavenly Father, how wonderful it is to praise You, to sing praises to You, and to hear others do so as well. You are God! You have created all things, and by Your hand all things exist and have their being. Be exalted in Your creation, O God. And hear the praises of Your people as we lift our voices to You. Amen.