So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God.
Gamaliel gives some excellent counsel in this verse. He had already pointed out that a couple different men had cropped up and drawn a following that dispersed when the leader died. Gamaliel advises an interesting course of action.
The advice is simple: [Stay] away from these men and let them alone. The leadership decides to take Gamaliel’s advice, but does not adhere to it very well. The apostles are beaten before being released. If that is what it looks like to let them alone, then my idea of being left alone needs some adjustment. Worse, the leadership will adhere still more poorly to the advice and will begin to persecute believers to the point of killing them.
Gamaliel’s advice is so good because he comes to the point: [If] this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God. I wonder how often I have seen something that alarmed me and decided that I must do something; must, as the Bard wrote, take arms against a sea of troubles. Why is it that I do not pray and let God sort things? Gamaliel advises more or less that precise course of action. Leave things alone. If the plan is just a bunch of men trying to get something going, it will eventually fall to pieces. If it is a plan that God has endorsed or permitted, I will not be able to stop it. If I try to stop something that God has allowed or caused, I will not succeed in my efforts. I will only wear myself out and put myself in opposition to God. Neither is a good thing.
I see a great deal of bluster from famous people about what they will do if some candidate gets the nomination or is elected president. Let them. There is always someone else waiting to take their place. For me, it comes down to casting my vote and trusting God. I make my voice heard and I pray that God will move the pieces around the board as He needs to in order to save the most souls possible and to usher in His Kingdom — the only government with which I will ever be content.
Will I take Gamaliel’s advice today? Will I take appropriate action — like casting my vote — then pray and let things play out as God intends?