Daily Devotional: Saturday 9th May

by William Moody

Acts 16:16–24

Paul and Silas in Prison

16 As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” 18 And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.

19 But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. 20 And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, “These men are Jews, and they are disturbing our city. 21 They advocate customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to accept or practice.” 22 The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. 23 And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. 24 Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

(ESV)

The good start to the work in Philippi then changes through this encounter with this slave girl who predicted the future (v16-18).

This girl has been wonderfully delivered from the control of an evil spirit. She could not predict the future but evil spirits helped her know certain things about people which convinced them that she did know the future.

With the evil spirit cast out of the girl, her power was gone and her owners were not happy and so they had Paul and Silas arrested, beaten and then imprisoned (v19-24).

The Gospel confronts evil and demands a change in people’s lives, which normally is not very popular. The world today is happy with a Gospel of private belief but not one that impacts your life and the life of others. The true Gospel though shakes things up, it challenges sin, it confronts evil and demands change and repentance.

As Christians we do not go out of our way to annoy people, but there is something wrong if what we believe, say and do, does not challenge others. Is it possible your life is not challenging others around as it should?

We see here that there is a price for being different and in confronting evil. We need to be gracious always, but we do need at times to be willing to risk friendships with others in standing for Christ. Are you ready for this?

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®),
copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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