Paul’s Perplexed

“…my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you! I wish I could be present with you now and change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.” (Gal. 4:19, 20)

We’ve felt this coming, haven’t we? This anguish Paul is having over the individuals he converted by the gospel and established in assemblies all across the Galatian province. He is in anguish because he sees them losing their claim to grace and he is also perplexed as to how it could be happening. It’s made more difficult because he is separated by miles and time. He senses that if he could just be there in person things would be different.

For one thing, he could personally confront the Galatians with the truth and for another, he could confront the Judaizers from Jerusalem with the fact that they were not supported by the leaders of the Jerusalem church which was composed of predominantly Jewish members.

If Paul were there he feels he could back off and be more gentle and not have to be so plain and abrupt. In the letter, he writes with such authority and with some bitterness towards the false brethren and it’s not how he wants to instruct. Notice that he calls them his little children. He feels like a mother who gave birth. Just like Jesus he wants to gather his chicks under his wings and protect them from the dangers of false teachers.

Today I hear the phrase “I just don’t get it,” a lot. That’s exactly what Paul is saying to the churches in Galatia. “I don’t get it, my little children.” “How could this have happened?” might be another way Paul could put it. The Galatians are listening to this false teaching and Peter and other Jewish Christians are supporting it. Even Barnabas, whom Paul knows so well and is Paul’s companion has fallen prey to the error.

Might God feel the same way about us? Look at all He did for us. The best we could do was join the false teachers and cry, “Crucify Him, Crucify Him.” Like sheep, we have strayed, gone our own way and so many have counted the grace of God as though it was nothing of value. People constantly and repeatedly reject the gift of Christ and the Holy Spirit. Listen to God as He made His way to the Holy City, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” (Luke13:34)

Task for Today: Jesus said Paul fought against the goads. Don’t do that today. Let God lead you. Read the word and be guided by it. Make contact with the Holy Spirit and ask for His leadership. Do nothing to frustrate the grace of God, do not fight against the way of truth but work hard at being faithful and obedient. God calls you to come under His wings. Go!

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