Seeking First. Always.

diane-k-seek-first-always

Gamaliel, known as one of the most important rabbis and Pharisees of the time, knew the Law, the Old Testament scripture. But not in the way most of us know some verses from our Bible. He knew it because he had memorized it. Word for word. Rabbis took the Law that seriously. They didn’t have to get the scrolls out of the temple or dust them off. They knew them without looking. That intimate knowledge was one of the tools they wielded over the people – “we know, you don’t, so you must listen and do what we say.”

[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]

[/pullquote]Gamaliel was ‘honored by the people’ for his knowledge. He was respected. Others listened to him. Saul (eventually a believer, renamed Paul), was a student of his. In fact, it was this training that gave Paul the credentials in his ministry to talk in the synagogues – another of those wonderful twists that Satan meant for evil, and God used for Kingdom building.

In Acts 5, the Pharisees are getting all riled up about these disciples of Jesus who are ‘stirring up the people,’ who are making noise and pulling people away from the Law (and their authority). They were not happy. They were probably thinking that they had put this problem to bed when they killed their leader, ignoring and disbelieving anything that smacked of the resurrection.

So Gamaliel, witnessing all of that and knowing scripture as well as he thought he did (missing the parts that taught of Jesus), tried to calm things down.

For if their purpose is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God. ~Acts 5:38

Seek first…

Gamaliel advised them to ‘consider carefully’ what they were thinking of doing. Remember those so-called prophets who came before, men ‘claiming to be someone.’ They failed. These guys would too.

But he also knew, based on the writings of prophets like Isaiah and Ezekiel, that if these men were truly from God, they (no matter what earthly authority they possessed) could do absolutely nothing to stop it, and might actually be in big trouble (like the God kinda trouble, the fire and brimstone kinda heat) if they tried.

Seek first…

When we look for direction, when we want desperately to do what God wants us to do, I too often seek after my own counsel first and, embarrassingly, only. I stroke my own ego, as the Pharisees did, thinking I know all that needs to be known, so of course I should just decide myself, based on the wonder that is me. And the direction that the wonderful me comes up, so often dripping with how others will perceive me, what others will think, how to make sure that nothing ruffles feathers. I so value those I can see, that I want my actions to reflect well in their eyes, thus validating me. Somehow.

Seek first…

Gamaliel missed what was happening right in front of his eyes, but at least he sought what he thought God would want them to do. Yes, it smacked of self-importance and preservation of the status quo of power and authority. Yes, it dripped with the arrogance of the intellectually proud. All of that and more. But at least he tried.

Seek first…

In Matthew 6, in his teaching on worry, Jesus teaches us to ‘seek first his Kingdom,’ and everything else will fall in line. God knows what we need. Period.

Drop the mic and walk off stage.

Who are we seeking after? If we know that we know that we know that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, why oh why do we seek first the opinion of others, or seek only the prideful ego-drive of our own counsel alone.

Why oh why do we continue to go to His Word as the last resort rather than the first. I am working hard towards being more like a well-informed, Jesus-loving Gamaliel who knows the Scriptures so well that it is a natural thing to think in that direction. First.

Seek first…

Who are you seeking first?

Grace & Such strives to advance Christian growth among women. While we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, we also recognize human interpretations are imperfect. Grace & Such encourages our readers to open their Bibles, pray for wisdom and study for themselves what the Word says. For more about who we are, please visit the About Us page.
Diane Karchner

Diane Karchner

Owner at Being Gram
Diane Karchner. Wife. Mom. Gram. Aunt. Writer. Retiree. Gardener. Beach Lover. Faith Tripper. Blogging at Being Gram about navigating the changes of being a grandmother and retiring as a Baby Boomer aficionada.
Diane Karchner

Latest posts by Diane Karchner (see all)

4 thoughts on “Seeking First. Always.

  1. Ruth

    Diane…why…do we all struggle so much when it’s so simple. First is first is first. HE IS. Truth. That old serpent keeps whispering…did God really say?…oh to be at that place in my walk where I have bent away from my own judgement and have been graciously and gently taught by the Master to stand confident and straight, my foundation and purpose TRUTH.

    Reply

  2. Gretchen Hanna

    Hi, my name is Gretchen, and I seek myself first and care what others will think all too often. Thank you for this post, as the Lord puts his beautiful, gentle conviction upon my heart to do what I know that I know that I know is right. I’m ever so grateful for His patience.

    Reply

  3. Tara

    Ah yes this- “so of course I should just decide myself, based on the wonder that is me. And the direction that the wonderful me comes up, so often dripping with how others will perceive me, what others will think, how to make sure that nothing ruffles feathers. I so value those I can see, that I want my actions to reflect well in their eyes, thus validating me. Somehow.”
    Over the weekend, after a few weeks of soul searching and knowing that my life felt out of whack I developed a plan to become more disciplined about how and when I seek God. Starting with getting up earlier to read his word before work to keep me focused during the day. That might sound so obvious, but with so many other things vying for my attention, I sometimes don’t read his word until right before bed and some days not at all.
    Great post Diane!

    Reply

  4. Jen

    Gamaliel has always been a fascinating character to me. Such a wise man. Oh, that I should think the way he does. “Seek First. Always.” Yes.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *