Text: Acts 23 (Judges 11-12)
As we approach the end of Acts, the focus is on Paul and the events that take him to Rome where he will enter his final imprisonment and then death. As things are really heating up for Paul in Jerusalem, he must be wondering, “Is it here and now that I will join Stephen as a martyr?” But, that is not God’s plan. Accordingly, Paul hears from the Lord:
The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.” (Acts 23:11)
It good to be reminded that, when we read history in Scripture, the human characters are never really the main characters. It is the Lord God who has the lead role. So, when we see a character like Paul as the focus, it is always good to ask – “What should I be learning about the Lord?” Three things:
- The Lord will always give us what we need, when we need it. It is the Lord’s will that Paul end up in Rome, and Paul needs encouragement for the day. So, the Lord speaks.
- He has a plan. No matter what, we are never lost in a sea of confusion, nor are we just victims of evil winds and random events. God is always working, always moving, always attentive and always in control.
- The Lord gives us both the responsibility and the wisdom to act. Knowing that he is to go to Rome, Paul puts his Roman captors to work to become his protectors and also his ticket to Rome. When the plot to kill him comes to light, Paul know what action to take. And when things get sticky in Caesarea, Paul knows to appeal to Caesar (Acts 25:11).
So – are we tuned in to God’s plan and purpose for us? Do we make our choices knowing that he is at work? Do we actually trust Him?
in Him, Mike