At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. One day at about three in the afternoon, he had a vision…
Cornelius heard from God because he was a man of prayer. He sought God in his day-to-day life and God spoke back through a vision.
He told Cornelius to go to Joppa bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. In the meantime, God directed Peter through a dream. Peter saw heaven open up and a large sheet descend to earth. It contained all kinds of animals, reptiles, and birds. God spoke to Peter telling him to get up and eat and not to call anything impure that God has made clean. (v.15) I can only imagine how puzzled Peter must have been as he pondered the meaning of his dream. Meanwhile, the men sent by Cornelius arrived at Peter’s door, and the Holy Spirit told Peter to open the door and go with these men whom God had sent.
It amazes me how tuned in to God’s voice both Cornelius and Peter were! Both men of God stepped out in faith to trust God’s divine direction.
God called Peter to go into the house of a Gentile (Cornelius) to tell them about Jesus. When Peter stepped out in obedience, he began to understand the dream that God had given him. The dream had deeper significance than declaring food clean or unclean. He saw that salvation was not intended for the Jews only; it was intended for Gentiles as well. The barrier had been lifted between Jew and Gentile. God orchestrated their coming together to fulfill His eternal purpose of bringing the Gentiles into the Kingdom of God.
God knew He could trust Cornelius and Peter because they spent time with Him in prayer and they had learned to both hear and to obey His voice.
God still speaks today: He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
(Hebrews 13:8) As we commit our lives to Him, He speaks and gives divine direction through His Word, through visions, and through dreams. He has not stopped speaking. We have stopped listening.
Heavenly Father, Open my ears so that I can be attentive to Your voice. Open my eyes so that I can see You more clearly. Open my heart so that I can respond in obedience to Your direction. In Jesus’ name, Amen