ACTS – The Acts of God
In times of uncertainty and trouble our first human response is anxiety and wondering, assuming the worst and thinking about possible bad outcomes. Most times what we think might happen never does. Many times we assume what people think and we are mistaken in that as well. It is best to stay focused on God, His direction, His will and purpose.
Anxiety over things that might never happen robs us of the joy of the Lord for today. We know that but yet we still fear the unknown, don’t we? Max Lucado has a good thought for us, “Healing from anxiety requires healthy thinking. Your problem is not your problem; it is the way you look at it. Satan knows this. The devil is always messing with our minds. He fills the sky with airplanes that carry nothing but fear and anxiety. And he is doing his best to convince us to let them land and unload their stinking cargo into our minds. Satan is the master of deceit. But he is not the master of your mind. You have a power he cannot defeat. You have God on your side.”
I am amazed at Paul’s tenacity and drive, even with threats to his life, as he stays the course with the work God has invited him to accomplish. Paul knew he had God on his side on the journey to tell the Truth of Jesus Christ, our Master. Paul did not seem to fear for his life as much as he feared he would not be able to help others know, accept, believe and follow Jesus.
God came to Paul in the midst of trouble in our next passage in Acts to say, “It’s going to be all right. Everything is going to turn out for the best. You’ve been a good witness for me here in Jerusalem. Now you’re going to be my witness in Rome!”
And that is EXACTLY what happened! Yet another ACT of God on Paul’s mission. Let us stop assuming the worst and listen for God’s whisper of calm for our own hearts. Only God knows what lies ahead and He will prepare us for it all. Worry is wasted time and is Satan’s way of distracting us from all that God is planning for us.
Acts 23, The Message
A Plot Against Paul
11 That night the Master appeared to Paul: “It’s going to be all right. Everything is going to turn out for the best. You’ve been a good witness for me here in Jerusalem. Now you’re going to be my witness in Rome!”
12-15 Next day the Jews worked up a plot against Paul. They took a solemn oath that they would neither eat nor drink until they had killed him. Over forty of them ritually bound themselves to this murder pact and presented themselves to the high priests and religious leaders. “We’ve bound ourselves by a solemn oath to eat nothing until we have killed Paul. But we need your help. Send a request from the council to the captain to bring Paul back so that you can investigate the charges in more detail. We’ll do the rest. Before he gets anywhere near you, we’ll have killed him. You won’t be involved.”
16-17 Paul’s nephew, his sister’s son, overheard them plotting the ambush. He went immediately to the barracks and told Paul. Paul called over one of the centurions and said, “Take this young man to the captain. He has something important to tell him.”
18 The centurion brought him to the captain and said, “The prisoner Paul asked me to bring this young man to you. He said he has something urgent to tell you.”
19 The captain took him by the arm and led him aside privately. “What is it? What do you have to tell me?”
20-21 Paul’s nephew said, “The Jews have worked up a plot against Paul. They’re going to ask you to bring Paul to the council first thing in the morning on the pretext that they want to investigate the charges against him in more detail. But it’s a trick to get him out of your safekeeping so they can murder him. Right now there are more than forty men lying in ambush for him. They’ve all taken a vow to neither eat nor drink until they’ve killed him. The ambush is set—all they’re waiting for is for you to send him over.”
22 The captain dismissed the nephew with a warning: “Don’t breathe a word of this to a soul.”
23-24 The captain called up two centurions. “Get two hundred soldiers ready to go immediately to Caesarea. Also seventy cavalry and two hundred light infantry. I want them ready to march by nine o’clock tonight. And you’ll need a couple of mules for Paul and his gear. We’re going to present this man safe and sound to Governor Felix.”
25-30 Then he wrote this letter:
From Claudius Lysias, to the Most Honorable Governor Felix:
I rescued this man from a Jewish mob. They had seized him and were about to kill him when I learned that he was a Roman citizen. So I sent in my soldiers. Wanting to know what he had done wrong, I had him brought before their council. It turned out to be a squabble turned vicious over some of their religious differences, but nothing remotely criminal.
The next thing I knew, they had cooked up a plot to murder him. I decided that for his own safety I’d better get him out of here in a hurry. So I’m sending him to you. I’m informing his accusers that he’s now under your jurisdiction.
31-33 The soldiers, following orders, took Paul that same night to safety in Antipatris. In the morning the soldiers returned to their barracks in Jerusalem, sending Paul on to Caesarea under guard of the cavalry. The cavalry entered Caesarea and handed Paul and the letter over to the governor.
34-35 After reading the letter, the governor asked Paul what province he came from and was told “Cilicia.” Then he said, “I’ll take up your case when your accusers show up.” He ordered him locked up for the meantime in King Herod’s official quarters.
Think about it…
–Outcome of Paul’s trouble…he was protected by an army of soldiers and sent to be housed in King Herod’s official quarters! That’s God!
–Paul will have another opportunity to tell The Story of Jesus!
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for protecting, providing, and saving us from ourselves and from the enemy. Thank you for peace and calm in every day of our journey. All because of your deep love for us. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
In Jesus Name, Amen