Then one in the council stood up, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in respect by all the people, and commanded them to put the apostles outside for a little while. And he said to them:“Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men.”…And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God.”
Acts 5:34-35, 38-39
I am amazed by the power of God displayed in this passage! Gamaliel was a well respected Jewish teacher in his day. He was the Pharisee who, according to Ac 22:3, trained the apostle Paul in the things of the law. He clearly possessed a great mind and great influence among the Jews, but there was one thing he was not. He was not a Christian!
We know that before God saved Paul, he was tasked with imprisoning Christians. When the men who brutally murdered the beloved Stephen were gathering stones to kill him, Paul held their coats so they wouldn’t get dusty or be hindered from aiming well. And we know that Paul didn’t assume this role because he disagreed with this stoning because Ac 8:1 tells us he was “consenting to his death”. No doubt, this dislike for Christians was greatly influenced by his instructor Gamaliel!
Perhaps now you see my amazement. Gamaliel was no friend to Christians! He was in full agreement when the council beat the apostles and forbid them to preach in the name of Christ. And yet, here in this one instance, Gamaliel becomes their deliverer. The point is, Christian, God is going to take care of His children and can use whatever means necessary to do so.
He can use an idolatrous town clerk who confesses the “great goddess Diana” in Ac 19:35 and yet calms the hearts of the men of Ephesus so that the disciples can go free. He can use a heathen king as in Is 45:1-7 where the heart of Cyrus, king of Persia, is turned to the children of Israel even though, according to God, “you have not known Me.” (v. 4-5) Anyone and anything, godly or ungodly, may be used of our sovereign God to save His people. He will deliver in this fashion before the eyes of all the world so that “they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting that there is none besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other; I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things.” (v. 6-7)
Perhaps you’re in a dark place right now, Christian. Maybe you can’t see any hope of deliverance. Remember Who your Father is and that He is in no way limited! “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?” (Jer 32:27) Continue to look to Him alone. He will deliver His children, but He will do so in such a way that there is no doubt from whose hand the deliverance comes! “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Eph 3:20-21)