Passage for Study: Acts 23: 22 - 28 … Acts 23 linked for study …
My Journal for Today: Oh, the intrigue of Paul’s life. After reading the target passage today, perhaps you’ll have to review the context of all of Acts 23, or even go back, as I did, to get the lead in drama of Acts 21-22, which is quite a story of God leading Paul, the Jewish/Christian evangelist through the rigors of being chained, imprisoned, and hauled before the Sanhedrin for judgment.
And there are all kinds of dynamics which transpire, threatening Paul’s life, … like the debate in the Sanhedrin between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, or the 40 zealots who pledge and plot to kill Paul, and the entrance of Paul’s nephew, who just “happens” to be in this story to carry a message to the Roman Centurion. And what does all of this show you or me, a Christian reading of this historical account?
Well, it demonstrates that God is always in the background, working in and through the events of our lives to work out His plan and purpose. God had promised Paul that he would go to Rome; and so when Paul’s life was threatened by the 40 Jewish terrorists, we see God intervening to send in Paul’s nephew to carry the information the Centurion, which was critical information needed to protect Paul. Remember, from context, the Roman Commander had “conveniently” learned that Paul was born a Roman citizen (see Acts 22). And so, the Centurion ordered that Paul have an escort of over 400 trained and battle-hardened Roman soldiers to escort Paul to the Roman safe-haven of Caesarea, where Paul’s case could be safely adjudicated by the Roman Governor who lived there in the palace Herod had built by the sea.
My friend, perhaps you feel threatened by life’s circumstances. Maybe you feel like the odds are stacked against you. Swindoll asks if you’re feeling alone or mistreated or mistaken; … or maybe even forsaken … by mankind … or maybe even by God. Well, today’s story illustrates what God promises in Hebrews 13: 5, which is a restatement of God’s promise from Deuteronomy 31: 6, 8. Dear one, God is always up there, out there, around there, working to insure that His designs are being worked out. That’s behind the promise of Paul’s great Romans 8 declaration (see verse 28), that “… all things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are the called according to His purpose.”
What we need to do is what Paul had learned to do … to trust in God’s inner and outer workings; and let God lead things to His completion, … even if that meant death. Yes, Paul realized that he might die in the process of all the intrigue Luke wrote about in Acts; but if that was God’s purpose, Paul knew it was for God’s good and His glory. I hope – and pray – that we recognize this and live, trusting God, as did Paul.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, I trust You. Amen