ACTS – The Acts of God
We are such an unfocused people who think we are multi-taskers who can do all things well. We plan our days with no margin for error. We read our Bibles with little understanding of what it says because we don’t take the time to God’s Holy Spirit speak to us about what we just read. We pray but our prayers are interrupted by thoughts of the day. After we pray and ask God for answers, do we wait long enough for Him to respond to us? What gets in the way? Us.
Our pride; traditions, good and bad; and habits developed by giving into the world around us all contribute to our lack of listening skills and understanding truth. It also contributes to our lack of obedience to God.
When someone comes along and explains what God’s Word is really saying to us, as in the case of Paul, our feathers are ruffled. We don’t like change or the effort it takes to change. The hard-line Jews are not happy, “furious”, in fact and “mad with jealously”. Ah, that green eyed monster that lives in all of us when challenged to make life altering corrections. But Paul and Silas, along with Timothy do not give up preaching the Truth. That is a lesson in itself.
Let’s remember that some WERE won over and understood that Jesus was indeed the Messiah that they had been reading about and waiting for all their lives. Influential people also joined the ranks of followers of Jesus. God makes all things work to His glory and for His good. Paul wrote this statement later in a letter to the Romans (Rom 8:28) reminding the church of how God works.
As we read, see how God works. Watch how God works in the lives of Paul, Silas and Timothy. See how God prevails in the lives of the new followers. It is all about God. Read with that perspective. See how the followers become even more tenacious in their faith as they are persecuted. That’s God’s Spirit living in them. God lives in us, too. His church will prevail!
Acts 17, The Message
17 1-3 They took the road south through Amphipolis and Apollonia to Thessalonica, where there was a community of Jews. Paul went to their meeting place, as he usually did when he came to a town, and for three Sabbaths running he preached to them from the Scriptures. He opened up the texts so they understood what they’d been reading all their lives: that the Messiah absolutely had to be put to death and raised from the dead—there were no other options—and that “this Jesus I’m introducing you to is that Messiah.”
4-5 Some of them were won over and joined ranks with Paul and Silas, among them a great many God-fearing Greeks and a considerable number of women from the aristocracy. But the hard-line Jews became furious over the conversions. Mad with jealousy, they rounded up a bunch of brawlers off the streets and soon had an ugly mob terrorizing the city as they hunted down Paul and Silas.
5-7 They broke into Jason’s house, thinking that Paul and Silas were there. When they couldn’t find them, they collared Jason and his friends instead and dragged them before the city fathers, yelling hysterically, “These people are out to destroy the world, and now they’ve shown up on our doorstep, attacking everything we hold dear! And Jason is hiding them, these traitors and turncoats who say Jesus is king and Caesar is nothing!”
8-9 The city fathers and the crowd of people were totally alarmed by what they heard. They made Jason and his friends post heavy bail and let them go while they investigated the charges.
10-12 That night, under cover of darkness, their friends got Paul and Silas out of town as fast as they could. They sent them to Berea, where they again met with the Jewish community. They were treated a lot better there than in Thessalonica. The Jews received Paul’s message with enthusiasm and met with him daily, examining the Scriptures to see if they supported what he said. A lot of them became believers, including many Greeks who were prominent in the community, women and men of influence.
13-15 But it wasn’t long before reports got back to the Thessalonian hard-line Jews that Paul was at it again, preaching the Word of God, this time in Berea. They lost no time responding, and created a mob scene there, too. With the help of his friends, Paul gave them the slip—caught a boat and put out to sea. Silas and Timothy stayed behind. The men who helped Paul escape got him as far as Athens and left him there. Paul sent word back with them to Silas and Timothy: “Come as quickly as you can!”
Dear Heavenly Father,
We repent of being dull and too busy to listen with understanding. We repent of multitasking. Let us center of thoughts on One goal and obey your direction to accomplish it. We pray we will see more clearly, bringing all of You into focus, letting the world fade into the background. It’s all about You, dear Lord. You are God and we are not. Thank you for Your Word that gives understanding. Thank you Holy Spirit for your guidance to real Truth that leads to authentic living.
In Jesus Name, Amen