Wednesday 9 January, 2013

Acts 19:23-41

23 At that time many people became very upset about the Way of Jesus. 24 There was a man named Demetrius who made things out of silver. He made silver models of the temple of the goddess Artemis. He brought in a lot of business for the other skilled workers. 25 One day he called them together. He also called others who were in the same kind of business. “Men,” he said, “you know that we make good money from our work. 26 You have seen and heard what this fellow Paul is doing. He has talked to large numbers of people here in Ephesus. Almost everywhere in Asia Minor he has led people away from our gods. He says that the gods we make are not gods at all. 27 Our work is in danger of losing its good name. People’s faith in the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be weakened. Now she is worshiped through all of Asia Minor and the whole world. But soon she will be robbed of her greatness.” 28 When they heard this, they became very angry. They began shouting, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 29 Soon people were making trouble in the whole city. They all rushed into the theater. They dragged Gaius and Aristarchus along with them. These two men had come with Paul from Macedonia. 30 Paul wanted to appear in front of the crowd. But the believers wouldn’t let him. 31 Some of the officials in Asia Minor were friends of Paul. They sent him a message, begging him not to go into the theater. 32 The crowd didn’t know what was going on. Some were shouting one thing and some another. Most of the people didn’t even know why they were there. 33 The Jews pushed Alexander to the front. Some of the crowd tried to tell him what to say. But he motioned for them to be quiet. He wanted to speak up for himself in front of the people. 34 But then they realized that he was a Jew. So they all shouted the same thing for about two hours. “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” they yelled. 35 The city clerk quieted the crowd down. “Men of Ephesus!” he said. “The whole world knows that the city of Ephesus guards the temple of the great Artemis. They know that Ephesus guards her statue, which fell from heaven. 36 These facts can’t be questioned. So calm down. Don’t do anything foolish. 37 “These men haven’t robbed any temples. They haven’t said evil things against our goddess. But you have brought them here anyhow. 38 Demetrius and the other skilled workers may feel they have been wronged by someone. Let them bring charges. The courts are open. We have our governors. 39 Is there anything else you want to bring up? Settle it in a court of law. 40 As it is, today we are in danger of being charged with causing all this trouble. But there is no reason for it. We wouldn’t be able to explain what has happened.” 41 After he said this, he sent the people away.

This passage of Scripture paints such a vivid picture!  Look at the vocabulary used – “great disturbance”, “furious”, “shouting”, “rushed”, “confusion”, “rioting”.  Sounds like the situation has the handprints of Satan all over it!

We can go through periods in our lives when there are disturbances, confusion and even, perhaps, shouting.  And yet, regardless of whether the situation is God-instituted, Satan-instituted or flesh-instituted, God can still make use of it.  He can still bring good out of it.  The situation that Paul found himself in did not deter him in the least – he just kept going about doing all that God had called him to do.  And when you look at Paul’s touching farewell to the elders at Ephesus in Acts 20, you can

see that he had a huge impact for God.  He kept his eyes on the prize, regardless of what went on around him, and he saw tremendous fruit.  But I am sure there were times when he wondered what on earth God was doing!

Lord, may I always keep my eyes firmly fixed on you, regardless of what is going on in my life.  May I have such a sense of

trust in you that even in situations where it may look like things are out of control, I chose to see your hand at work!

Written by Ps .Jen Irving

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