Today’s Devotional Verse: Acts 9:5-6. Seeing is Believing


And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecute: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.” (Acts 9:5-6, KJV)

C. S. Lewis wrote "if you saw God, you would be strongly tempted to worship". In other words, the only reason we don't worship is because we don't see God. You can't see God and remain the same, never! Open your Bible, see them, the men that saw God and see their lives after the encounter. They changed for good! Our today’s verse (s) takes us to one of them; Saul or Paul.

Interpreting the verses

As always, we will follow our simple guide to interpreting any verse or chapter in Bible [considering the context (literal and historical-cultural) and content (the real textual content, noting the words and sentences and their meanings)] and apply this guide to our today’s verse to decipher what we have. 

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Chapter 9 of Acts simply talks of the conversion of Saul, the notorious Jew in times of the beginnings of the church who was known for arresting, torturing, stopping, and even murdering those who proclaimed the salvation (or resurrection) of Jesus Christ (verse 1; Acts 22:3). Surprisingly, it is during one of his journeys (of hunting Christians) that the LORD meets him! In other words, God meets and saves Saul while he was still on a wrong road, still persecuting God’s people.

Verses 3-6 depict the exact scenario in which the Lord reveals Himself to Saul on his way to Damascus. As explained by Bible, when he suddenly got hit by God’s glory or the light from heaven (Is light the same as God’s glory? Yes. See; the transfiguration in Matthew 17 or even of Moses following his encounter with God on Sinai-Exodus 34:29. Light is God’s glory, is God, is His righteousness, is good), Saul fell to the ground, with his eyes closed (not blind) and a voice asked him; why do you persecute me?

And he (Saul) replied, who are you, Lord? ‘I am Jesus whom you persecute’, Jesus answers back. And listen to the next thing; ‘trembling and astonished, Saul asked, Lord, what will you have me to do?’ (verse 6). In other words, my Lord, I am here for your service! And that is our major focus today. What follows after seeing Christ and the reality of His glory? It’s believing, worshipping, praising, serving with fear and yet with confidence!

Listen, the Lord does not ask Paul to do anything; He simply reveals Himself to him (verses 5-6). The Lord does not ask Moses to worship; He only passes in front of him revealing part of His glory (Exodus 34:6, 8). The Lord does not ask Isaiah to helplessly scream for salvation; He only allows him to see heaven and God’s glory (Isaiah 6), and the soldier, upon seeing the Glory of God during Christ’s suffering and death on the cross, praises God and says; indeed, this was a good man (Luke 23:47). 

Again, all this takes us back to C.S Lewis’ words; when one sees God’s glory, He is strongly ‘tempted’ to worship. In other words, seeing is believing. Seeing is savoring. Seeing is admiring. Seeing is desiring. Seeing is worshiping. Seeing is praising. We can’t see God and His glory and do or be something else but believe and worship!

The Glory of God and our unworthiness of it

In my Christmas gift to you entitled "The Story of Christmas", I wrote this; "the chief reason man does not believe in God is IGNORANCE (call it blindness), of what? Of chiefly two things; the glory of God (who God truly is) and the unfitness or the unworthiness (sin) of man."

The reason we worship when we see God lies in God’s glory exceeding everything else that is precious and desirable and radiating everything else that is good and beyond and also because we don’t deserve to see and have it. We worship God, first, for being good Himself and, secondly, for extending such goodness to the unworthy you and me.

Again, open your bible and see men, men who met God and realized that they were not good enough! Do you remember Isaiah? That guy saw 'some' glory and almost collapsed. Hear him cry; “woe to me, I have dirty lips and I live among unclean people. And yet I have seen God. I must die. I don't deserve to be here! " (paraphrased, Isaiah 6:5). Ask Paul when He met God on his way to Damascus. Paul, a warrior and soldier screamed; "who are you and I believe you?" The fight for us as Christians should be to see the Glory, to experience the fullness and goodness of our Lord and the rest shall follow.

Grace of God and His Glory-salvation of sinners

I have, on various, occasions stressed that the number one challenge that grace preachers face is the difficulty in explaining or expressing or even understanding how grace (unmerited favor and justification) leads to obedience (or salvation). And our understanding of how God’s glory penetrates into our being leaving us with no any other options but worship can help us see how God’s grace leads to obedience (I hope it is easy for you to see obedience as worshipping and vice versa). Let us make it plain this way; 

God graciously chooses who to reveal His glory to (whether it is for Moses, Saul, the soldier at the cross, the apostles themselves, Isaiah or any other individual that accepted Christ) and thus making them have faith in Him. In other words, just as the doctrines of grace (see; Romans 8:29-30; Romans 9) suggest, the choosing or election happens minus anyone’s inputs. God, according to His wisdom and will, chooses who should see His glory in His word or in the face of Christ (see; 2 Corinthians 4:6) and then these same people end up believing and worshipping God.

So, how does God’s grace and glory lead to obedience? 

The answer is simple;

God’s grace chooses and enables us to see His Glory and this transforms us into beings that only serve such glorious God. We see His goodness first. We experience His love first. We perceive His mercy and forgiveness first. We receive His justification first. We drink of His goodness and Glory first and then obedience comes as an inevitable response (a response not by us, but still by Him in us) to such Glory, to such goodness, to such forgiveness! For God’s sake, obedience is a fruit and not a root of faith! That is why Saul asks, what should I do for you, Lord? Isaiah screams, what should I do? And then, send me! It’s after God graciously revealing His glory to us that we beg to serve Him, the best King ever.

How do we see his glory? 

God revealed His glory through the Law and prophets, through His son, and then through His word and the Holy Spirit (Read Hebrews chapter 1). In other words, we can only see the Glory of God through His word by the power of Holy Spirit. This is His work again. He graciously reveals Himself to us through His word. Not everyone who listens to the word shall see Him, but only those chosen to see the reality of Him in the Biblical text. Simply, reading, studying, and practicing God’s word (both individually and communally) is the only way for us to experience the power and goodness of God and thus be set for obedience. That is the way. We will come back to this some other time.

Summary and conclusion 

Today’s verses remind us that our fight should be the fight to see God’s glory and who He really is. Once that is covered, obedience or worshiping automatically flows from us. And how do we achieve this? By reading and studying Holy Scriptures, earnestly asking Him in prayer to reveal Himself to us. And yet all of this is a fight, the pain, the narrow gate, the cross we were asked to carry! Finding and savoring that Glory is itself a fight and yet, surprisingly, this fight is full of joy and pleasure that surpasses everything else. 


God bless you

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Born from Uganda, Nemeyimana Vicent (Nemvicx) has become what people call, "coming from nothing to something". Professionally, he is both a nurse and public health officer and currently works with Mulago National Referral Hospital. In 2016, he wedded his wife and great sweetheart, Amulen Winfred (also a professional Midwife and counsellor). Besides their professions, Nemvicx is an inspirational writer, singer, motivational speaker, author of several digital books. He a theologian and blogger at www.nemvicx.com (The Complete You Ministry).

Contact them at thecompletey@gmail.com