Daily Devotional Friday 12th June 2020

by William Moody

Philemon 12–16

12 I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart. 13 I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel, 14 but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord. 15 For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, 16 no longer as a bondservant1 but more than a bondservant, as a beloved brother—especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.


[1] 1:16 For the contextual rendering of the Greek word doulos, see Preface; twice in this verse


Paul’s love for Onesimus the runaway slave, is expressed most wonderfully in v12 when he describes him as ‘my own heart’. Paul the strong and determined apostle was also a very tender man. Gentleness and tenderness are greatly needed characteristics in the church today.

Although Paul wants to keep Onesimus to help him in his work, Paul sends him back so not to make Philemon feel obliged to let him stay with Paul (v13-14). Here again we see Paul’s tenderness. He was no manipulator, but he sought to do things God’s way, showing people respect. At times it is necessary to pull back and not to force people to do things against their will. As we do this we need to be praying for God to work in people’s hearts so that they will do things willingly.

Paul sees God’s hand at work in Onesimus’ life (v15-16). Even his stealing and running away God used to bring him to Paul and then salvation. A situation which Philemon saw as only bad, by God’s great power and wisdom has been turned around for good.

Pray for situations you know which are bad, for God to work so as to bring good out of them.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®),
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