Posted by: pmarkrobb | October 30, 2016

standing at the foot of your hill

So little of our lives is known to us in advance.  We live moment by moment, day by day, or maybe even paycheck to paycheck.  And you’ve probably wished at times that you knew what was waiting for you just around the corner or over the crest of the next hill .  Maybe you’re searching for your true calling.  Maybe you’re dealing with a major life decision.  Maybe you’re losing hope that the circumstances you’re drowning in right now are ever going to change.

The book of Acts, and more specifically chapters 20 and 21, give us an amazing account of a sold-out servant of God who knew exactly what was coming in his life.  Within these chapters, Paul begins to face his certain fate.  His life post-conversion has been on a collision course with Jerusalem.  Along the road, he has experienced and endured much (that’s an understatement of epic proportion).  He has faced it and walked through it with an unflinching faith.  As he faces Jerusalem, Paul knows what’s coming and makes a bold and clear declaration in Acts 21:13 …

Then Paul answered,“What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart?  For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” (ESV)

The Message reads …

But Paul wouldn’t budge: “Why all this hysteria?  Why do you insist on making a scene and making it even harder for me?  You’re looking at this backward. The issue in Jerusalem is not what they do to me, whether arrest or murder, but what the Master Jesus does through my obedience. Can’t you see that?”

i love when Paul says, “you’re looking at this backward …”. Can’t you just hear Paul saying that?!  When i read that verse, i literally stopped.  i was overwhelmed with the reality of Paul’s sold-out dedication to the message of the gospel, especially in the face of his very real and certain fate.  He was walking a Jesus road.  A road that he shared with Stephen.  A trail blazed by his Lord, who also met His road with a full awareness of where it was leading.  Christ did that for Paul (and for all of us), and Paul was doing it for Christ … and only Christ.  i experience an amazing smallness when i meditate on this.  Enveloped in the immense shadow cast by a small man in service to the radiant Son.  i feel compelled, as i stand in this shadow, to put myself in a place of hypothetical substitution.

Jerusalem is quite literally a city on a hill.  The final steps of Paul’s journey to Jerusalem were an uphill climb.  How amazing is the imagery of having to climb to his eventual fate?  Not a final shift into cruise control after a life well-lived, but a downshift into four-wheel drive in order to make it to the summit.  A summit that finds the ultimate sacrifice for the cause of Christ as it’s prize.  Standing at the foot of that hill, what would I have done?  What would you and I have done in Paul’s place?

We have an opportunity to answer that question each new morning that God gifts.  Who are we living for?  If the answer is “us,” then we are, indeed, looking at this backward.  We are focused on what our circumstances do to us, rather than what Jesus is doing both in and through us in the midst of them.  Only God holds our next breath and owns all our tomorrows.  Live for Him today and trust Him with your tomorrows.  He will give you all the strength, comfort and wisdom you need to climb your hill today.

The issue is not what this world and its troubles will do to you, but what your Master Jesus can do through your obedience.



  1. Each morning we begin the climb again…

    Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. – Psalm 143:8

    Thanks for sharing

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