On the day of Pentecost, the church experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit. They immediately began to speak in other tongues and prophesy. No one had ever seen anything like this. It had been prophesied. Yet, the religious leaders didn’t recognize what was happening, until Peter stood and explained. “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy… (Acts 2:14,16-17).
Why wouldn’t the religious leaders recognize when God moved in their midst? After all, it should have come as no surprise, it had been foretold by the prophets! For that matter, why didn’t they recognize the Messiah when He appeared on the scene? They were expecting Him, at that precise moment in history? They not only failed to recognize Him, they killed Him because He wasn’t what they expected. They were looking for what they had already seen! They expected Him to be like the prophets. That’s all they had to compare.
Recognizing what God is doing should be simple. Jesus said that we should be like little children. One of the characteristics of little children is taking things at face value. They do not have past associations that alter their current perception! With a child, it is what it is! The gap between what a person says and what another hears is as wide as the difference in their life experience. If the only automobile you’ve seen is a Model -T Ford, and I am attempting to describe the comfort of riding in a new Mercedes, the gap between what I am saying and what you perceive is extreme. You are trying to make all of my descriptions fit into the only thing you’ve ever seen… a Model – T.
In every situation, our mind goes back into our past; it draws from the images, memories and emotions we associate with that situation. It tries to make the events of today understandable through the experiences of the past. Many negative childhood experiences only become enjoyable when we allow ourselves to experience them as adults. Everyday God seeks to do a new work in our life. He seeks to meet us in a way that delivers us from the snare, redeems us from our past, establishes us in His love and meets all of our needs. But why don’t we see it? Why don’t we perceive what God is doing? Amazingly, it is usually the very thing that we are praying and asking Him to do!