Good morning! I love when things turn around in my favor. In our readings we have watched Paul experience so much for the sake of the sharing the Good News. Paul was beaten, imprisoned, and ran out of towns. However, this time around, things were working out in his favor. Join me today as we continue our reading in Philippines chapter eighteen.
“12 But when Gallio became governor of Achaia, some Jews rose up together against Paul and brought him before the governor for judgment. 13 They accused Paul of “persuading people to worship God in ways that are contrary to our law.”
14 But just as Paul started to make his defense, Gallio turned to Paul’s accusers and said, “Listen, you Jews, if this were a case involving some wrongdoing or a serious crime, I would have a reason to accept your case. 15 But since it is merely a question of words and names and your Jewish law, take care of it yourselves. I refuse to judge such matters.” 16 And he threw them out of the courtroom.
17 The crowd[c] then grabbed Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and beat him right there in the courtroom. But Gallio paid no attention.” – Acts 18:12-17 NLT
A Little History
- Rome did not permit action of widely spreading and promoting new religions.
- The argument from the Jews was that Christianity was different from Judaism.
Sometimes when we find ourselves under new leadership we become concerned or uneasy about what will happen next. In this instance, Paul continued preaching and teaching regardless of the leadership in place, but others saw it as an opportunity to rise up against Paul.
Yesterday, in verses 9-10 we read, “9 One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision and told him, “Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent! 10 For I am with you, and no one will attack and harm you, for many people in this city belong to me.” Today, we see the fruit of the Lord’s words to Paul. Don’t get me wrong, Paul had been in the city for sometime with little mention of opposition, which was truly the Lord’s protection over his life. However, this stands out a bit more because in previous chapters we read about the uproars that sent Paul to prison or left him fleeing. But this time, Paul did not need to speak a word. Let’s re-read the verse “14 But just as Paul started to make his defense, Gallio turned to Paul’s accusers and said, “Listen, you Jews, if this were a case involving some wrongdoing or a serious crime, I would have a reason to accept your case.“
Sisters and brothers, the Lord loves you just as much as he loved Paul. His hands of protection are on you, the Lord will shield you, the Lord will grant you favor, the Lord will fight for you, and the Lord will speak through others (knowingly and unknowingly) to make His ways know and for His plans to work out for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Sisters and brothers, stay encouraged and in prayer. The Lord is fighting your battle, He is making ways in the desert, and He is for you and not against you. He is binding up the brokenhearted, he is setting the captives free, he is releasing those who are in darkness into the light, he is bestowing crowns of beauty, giving the oil of joy, and filling our hearts with praise. You are His oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.
Keep pressing forward. The favor of the Lord is with you and on your life.
Father God we thank you for your love and mercy in our lives. We thank you for fighting our battles – the ones we know about and others we do not know about. Lord, we thank you for your continued protection and faithfulness. We thank you for your words that give us life and comfort. Lord, we thank you for all the things you continue to do and we praise you for all the things to come. Lord, we ask that you go before us this morning and begin a might work ahead of us. Give us favor in the dry places, give us light in the darkness, and keep us humbly submitted to you and your will. In Jesus name, amen.
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