Now that we’ve talked about fear, and all its destructive ways, I’d like to talk about faith. The Earth shaking kind. And men that did all the steps I have talked about in the Prayer series and received tremendous results. The same kind of results you can get too.
I went over this story a little while ago if you remember the post called, “It Takes Courage to Stand But You Can Do It.” (link will open in new window) In Acts 16, Paul and several others were in Philippi preaching. There a few fortune tellers tried to piggy back on their crowd gathering and make some money by acting like they were “with” the ministers of God. When Paul kicked the devil spirit out, those men got very angry. So angry they stirred up the whole city against them.
“And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat [them]. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast [them] into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.” Acts 16:22-24
Quite suddenly, things seemed to turn for the worse for Paul. Here, he did this amazing miracle yet he was the one they were mad at. Also Paul was a Roman. You didn’t just go throwing the Romans in jail. People could get in big trouble for that. Did Paul mention that before they threw them in there? It doesn’t say. My guess is he was asking God what to tell them. And God said, zip it. Can you imagine all those new believers? Here the authorities are putting pressure on them and making an example of Paul and Silas. The Devil were trying to intimidate those new believers. Like the spiritual authorities were saying, “See what happens when you believe?” (Isn’t that something that still happens?) Christians think if they get too big they have a mark on their backs. Well, didn’t God say he’ll make a way to escape?
What happened to our heros?
They asked God what to do next. What did God say? Sing.
“And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.” vs. 25
Imagine the conversation in Paul’s mind: “Sing? Really God? It’s the middle of the night, we’ve been working all day! Then we got beaten and thrown in here. We don’t feel like singing.”
God: Sing loud enough for the heavens to hear you!
This guidance may not have made sense but they did it! Do you see why that in itself is so exciting? They were just stupid enough to not be prideful. They weren’t looking around them at the five senses, they were listening to God. Then what happened?
“And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.” vs. 26
These men were shackled to the wall. They were locked in tight for the night. Even the prison guard was sleeping he wasn’t worried that anything was going to happen. But he soon realized a new truth. There is a new sheriff in town!
“And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.” vs. 27
He had been told to keep these men “safely” in other words guard them with your life. Why? Because the devil knew if they got out the whole town would be turned on it’s ear and believe in God.
God had other plans. I imagine that the spiritual authorities, in this new little colony of Macedonia, thought they could keep God out. But the new believers needed to know God is bigger than man made law. How better to prove this to them than by shaking the very foundations they stood on. Paul had to go to jail, so God could build the believing of all those new little babes in Christ. They had to know God wasn’t intimidated by them and they shouldn’t be either.
What happened next?
A bonus soul.
“But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”
That jailor witnessed God’s power rod of believing first hand. Few walk away from that unchanged.
Later after a little ego adjustment, Paul arrived back at Lydia’s house the victor, the conqueror, and made God the hero. Those believers became what is now known as the church at Phillipi and Paul wrote a little letter called Phillipians to them. Did they grow because of this? I’d say so!
Fear is a futile attempt to keep you from believing God’s Word to it’s fullest. Don’t let it win. Ask God to show you the steps on your path and watch him shake the foundations of the devil’s stronghold in your life.
God Bless You today!