Thursday, 16 June 2022
“…Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome also.” -Acts 23:11[NASB]
Paul was on trial before the chief priests and the council consisting of the Sanhedrin and Pharisees. He did not shy away from testifying of his faith and boldly spoke on the hope of resurrection. This caused an uproar among the Pharisees who believed in bodily resurrection and the Sadducees who did not. The dispute became so violent to a point where the commander was afraid whether Paul would be torn to pieces. So he had Paul shifted to the barracks, following which there was a plot planned by forty Jewish men to kill Paul which was informed by Paul’s nephew to the commander. The commander came to Paul’s rescue, transferring him with the help of 470 Roman soldiers to the Governor. At a later stage, we study Paul was moved as a prisoner to Rome to eventually have his case heard with Caesar.
There is much to learn from Paul’s life. A few thoughts related to our reading: God’s protection over His children
When a situation goes wrong, our human tendency is to doubt whether God can rescue us from the tough situation or He would be able to make a way out in a complex scenario. Paul could have been torn to pieces but God prepared the commander to rescue him at the right time. Again, when forty men tried to kill Paul, God rescued him again with the commander’s help. We have an assurance of God’s divine protection always for His people “…for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
HIS ways are not our ways
Often we try to predict and understand how God works or we hope God would work in a particular way in our favour. But God functions beyond our small thinking. Paul’s journey is a good example of how God uses different people in various ways to execute His plan. He uses the Commander, the Centurion, Paul’s Nephew, 470 Roman soldiers to ensure Pauls safety. As it says in Isaiah 55:8-9 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.
He has a plan for us
God has a plan for each one of us just as how He had set out the journey of Paul. While Paul was pulled into the barracks, God speaks to Paul asking him to take courage and to be a witness in Rome as well (Acts 23:11). Although at that point this plan seemed to be impossible, God made it possible as later we see Paul sail to Rome as a prisoner and fulfil God’s plan for him in Rome.
For God’s plan to unfold we need to dedicate our time and resources for Him just as Paul decided to do so. As he says in Acts 20:24: “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” Paul’s firm faith in the Lord despite all the difficulties he faced, helped him endure and see God’s plan revealed in his life.
Can we dedicate our lives to God, so that He would protect, guide and execute His plan for our lives?
Act on: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3: 5-6)