We’re talking about the blunders of the Apostles as recorded in the book of Acts. We’re generally more familiar with the bloopers they made before Jesus’ resurrection, but these are some examples from after he rose and ascended to heaven…
God’s little helpers…
“Brothers,” Peter said, “the Scriptures had to be fulfilled concerning Judas, who guided those who arrested Jesus. This was predicted long ago by the Holy Spirit, speaking through King David. Judas was one of us and shared in the ministry with us.” . . . Peter continued, “This was written in the book of Psalms, where it says, ‘Let his home become desolate, with no one living in it.’ It also says, ‘Let someone else take his position.’
“So now we must choose a replacement for Judas from among the men who were with us the entire time we were traveling with the Lord Jesus— from the time he was baptized by John until the day he was taken from us. Whoever is chosen will join us as a witness of Jesus’ resurrection.”
So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. Then they all prayed, “O Lord, you know every heart. Show us which of these men you have chosen as an apostle to replace Judas in this ministry, for he has deserted us and gone where he belongs.” Then they cast lots, and Matthias was selected to become an apostle with the other eleven. Acts 1:15-26
Peter-the-impetuous, the easiest of the Apostles with whom to find fault, had a proof text from the Bible for his opinion on what ought to be done about turning the Eleven back into its intended Twelve. It’s clear to me that Paul was the twelfth, but they were in a hurry and couldn’t wait for God to get around to filling the position. No knock on Matthias, but we never again hear about him in the biblical record, and well, you know what Paul ended up meaning to the movement (as I see it, he unintentionally took over as “Team Captain”). Later there was a heretical gospel attached to Matthias’ name (possibly the same guy). One commentator wrote, “They traded a thief (Judas) for a heretic (Matthias)!” This might not be true, and Matthias might have been a good man, but he was the wrong man for the position.
But you’ve got to love Peter, “…so now we must choose…” Everything always had to be done “now” to Peter and it was “we” (they) who had to do it. It seems to me that God had a different time (not now), a different chooser (not them), a different method (not lot casting), and a different man (not Matthias) to fill the vacancy.
Speaking of the method they used to make the decision between the final candidates – not in keeping with the rest of the New Testament – they threw dice (lots)! Though accepted and even advocated in the Old Testament, this is the only time lots were used to make a decision after Jesus came. In my opinion, had they waited for the Spirit to guide them in his way and in his timing, they wouldn’t have used this method to determine his will.
Thank God that even when we play “God’s little helpers,” he can still get his will done in his way and in his time. It wasn’t until a few years later that – in no subtle way – he blinded and whacked down (in more ways than one) the man who was his first and final choice for Apostle Number Twelve. God could wait, even if his helpers couldn’t.
You might not agree with my appraisal of this, but are you personally acquainted with making the mistake of impatience in doing God’s work? Do you know anyone who tends to try to do God’s job for him or rushes his projects (proof texts in hand to back up their plans). Are you acquainted with anyone who sometimes uses weak human methods to try to force his hand to show them what he wants? Are you familiar with any of “God’s little helpers”? Again, just asking.