Missing the Point

Even when we're paying attention, it can be to the wrong things.

Acts 26:1-8 (ESV)

So Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.” Then Paul stretched out his hand and made his defense:

“I consider myself fortunate that it is before you, King Agrippa, I am going to make my defense today against all the accusations of the Jews, especially because you are familiar with all the customs and controversies of the Jews. Therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently.

“My manner of life from my youth, spent from the beginning among my own nation and in Jerusalem, is known by all the Jews. They have known for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that according to the strictest party of our religion I have lived as a Pharisee. And now I stand here on trial because of my hope in the promise made by God to our fathers, to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship night and day. And for this hope I am accused by Jews, O king! Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?”

Paul has already appealed to Caesar; this hearing does nothing for him. So, what does he do? Preach, of course.

Paul is going to make a thoughtful point and he’s pleased that Agrippa, being familiar with all the customs and controversies of the Jews, will be able to follow his reasoning. Still, Paul warns him by saying, “Therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently.

The key word in Paul’s explanation is, “hope.” “And now I stand here on trial because of my hope in the promise made by God to our fathers, to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship night and day. And for this hope I am accused by Jews, O king!”

It’s all about hope. Judaism has always been all about hope. Paul doesn’t come right out and say it, but his point is that the Jews were so wrapped up in the details of the law that they forgot what it’s all about. The dream came true and they didn’t even notice.

Now they can’t seem to process the good news.


We do the same thing. We get so immersed in the details that we lose track of our original objective. This is what “not seeing the forest for the trees” is all about. We’re too busy to pay attention.

Take a step back and take stock of where you are and where you want to get to. The first step in that is to take a look in the mirror and assess your spiritual health. Ask God to help you do this honestly. Pray that you will be able to see yourself for who you really are.

You can also ask someone you trust (spouse, friend, accountability partner) to identify your strengths and weaknesses.

It may take a while to draw them out on the weaknesses part, but it’s worth the time.


The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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