Can we have a Barnabas or two?
Today’s reading: Job 26-28; Acts 11
Then Job answered and said:
2 “How you have helped him who has no power! How you have saved the arm that has no strength! 3 How you have counseled him who has no wisdom, and plentifully declared sound knowledge! Job 26:1-3
…and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, 24 for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. Acts 11:22b-24
As Barnabas demonstrated, wise words, spoken by one filled with the Holy Spirit can be used by God to accomplish great good for His glory.
Job complains again about the ineffectiveness of his friends counsel and advice in the face of his great and obvious need. He categorizes himself as one who has no power or strength, who is bereft of wisdom and knowledge. He has no answers as to why he is suffering. He needs to hear truth but he has only heard accusations and simplistic views based on “recrimination theology” that God judges without mercy and grace giving to each his just desserts, no more, no less. Wisdom is a treasure, but it is not to be found in this conversation. He ends today’s reading with the observation, “ Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.’” (28:28b).
Barnabas goes to the city of Antioch to check out a report that Hellenists (Greek speaking, uncircumcised Gentiles) were hearing and believing the gospel from the refugees who had been scattered by the persecution. By contrast to Job’s friends, Barnabas, full of the Holy Spirit, exhorts and encourages them “to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose.” As a result, “a great many people were added to the Lord.” Although, Peter had already convinced some of the Jewish believers in Jerusalem that God had given Gentiles repentance that leads to life, the church is in uncharted territory with this spiritual awakening among non-Jews. They are understandably cautious to be sure they understand how God is at work in new ways. Barnabas is a man who had shown, by his openness to the converted Saul, that he is a good man full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. His mission to Antioch is eminently successful, blessing the church there and bringing glory to God.
If we are to be used by God with our words, we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit and with faith. We need to be people who fear God, holding Him in awe and reverence. Pray that you will be a “Barnabas” for the world in which you live. The need is great for wise counselors.