Today’s Bible reading: 2 Kings 8-9:13; Acts 16:16-40; Psalm 143:1-12; Proverbs 17:26
Back in 2 Kings 4 Elisha helps a woman by bringing her son back to life. This was just before a great famine hit the land. Today we find out that Elisha gave this woman some inside information that the famine was going to happen (2 Kings 8:1-2). Upon returning home after the famine ended she was given back all she possessed at the time she left (2 Kings 8:6). Here we see the government of Israel, which was not exactly godly, not penalizing this woman for obeying God. Can you imagine a government like that in the United States – where people are commended for obeying God? Neither can I.
While Paul was in Macedonia he is followed by a demon-possessed girl who earned a lot of money for her masters (Acts 16:16). Even though she shouts the truth about Paul and his partners (Acts 16:17) Paul orders the demon to come out of her (Acts 16:18). Jesus did the same thing – He silenced demons even though they spoke the truth about Him. We are known by the company we keep. And even though this girl was speaking truth she was a well known fortune-teller who was not committed to God. Paul didn’t need the testimony of such a person, even if she spoke the truth.
When Jesus ordered demons out of a person He did so on His own authority. Paul does not cast the demon out of this girl on his own. He does so “in the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 16:18).
The girl’s masters saw that their money making scheme was now over and so they sieze Paul and Silas (Acts 16:19). The main accusation against them is that they are “Jews” and were teaching the people things that went against Roman law. In response to these charges the people whip Paul and Silas and throw them into prison, not realizing that Paul, while Jewish, was a Roman citizen. Here we see an example of mob-mentality where the facts are not allowed to get in the way.
If I were in jail I wonder if I would be as confident as Paul and Silas. I doubt I would be able to pray and sing to God as they did (Acts 16:25). But certainly even people in prison, including the guards, need to hear about Jesus and God would want us to witness while there.
God miraculously frees Paul and Silas from prison through an earthquake (Acts 16:26). In the process one of the guards believes and is saved and also baptized (Acts 16:30, 33). God is always able to turn a difficult situation into one that glorifies Him. Therefore when we find ourselves in less-than-ideal situations, we need to keep focused on Him and look for an opportunity to serve. We can be certain there will be such an opportunity.
A great prayer to pray is to ask God to teach us to do His will (Psalm 143:10). God’s will is “good, pleasing, and perfect” (Romans 12:2). When we do His will our lives will be so much better.
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