The Odds

Good morning! Have you ever been in a situation where the odds were against you? Maybe you had people against you, but you didn’t know why? Paul was experiencing a similar situation the only difference, he knew exactly why. Join me as we continue our reading in Acts chapter 23, the plot against the Apostle Paul continues to thicken and he continues to trust God.

Bible verse – Acts 23:12-18 NLT

12 The next morning a group of Jews[d] got together and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. 13 There were more than forty of them in the conspiracy. 14 They went to the leading priests and elders and told them, “We have bound ourselves with an oath to eat nothing until we have killed Paul. 15 So you and the high council should ask the commander to bring Paul back to the council again. Pretend you want to examine his case more fully. We will kill him on the way.”

16 But Paul’s nephew—his sister’s son—heard of their plan and went to the fortress and told Paul. 17 Paul called for one of the Roman officers[e] and said, “Take this young man to the commander. He has something important to tell him.”

18 So the officer did, explaining, “Paul, the prisoner, called me over and asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you.”” – Acts 23:12-18 NLT

Quick Points

  • The group of Jewish men had evil intentions. Here they are plotting the death of another man, just as they had plotted to kill Jesus.
  • The men’s hearts were not pure and they used their religion to attempt to justify killing Paul.
  • This is the first time we read about Paul’s family. Paul had a sister and a nephew.
  • The Lord can use a young man to expose the truth and help others.


The odds appear to be against Paul. Men were so angry that they preferred him dead instead of sending him on his way. Yet remember, throughout scripture we read how the Lord works miracles – especially when the odds are stacked against His children. This time he used someone close to Paul to reveal the plot against him.

Sisters and brothers, people may plot against you, but that is not unusual – the Bible reminds us of a few things:

  • Stay Alert (1 Peter 5:8) Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers[b] all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.
  • No weapon will prosper (Isaiah 54:17) “But in that coming day no weapon turned against you will succeed. You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you. These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the Lord; their vindication will come from me. I, the Lord, have spoken!”
  • Be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:9) This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.””
  • He has a plan for you:
    • Psalm 57:2-3 “I cry out to God Most High,[b] to God who will fulfill his purpose for me. He will send help from heaven to rescue me, disgracing those who hound me. My God will send forth his unfailing love and faithfulness.”
    • Jeremiah 29:11-1311 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. 

The Lord is on your side. Keep listening to the Lord’s direction. Continue to walk in obedience to the purpose God has for you. Even when the odds are against you, trust the One who is in control of everything. Keep praying.


Father God thank you for reminding us that you are in control. That no matter what we are facing you are still on the throne, are able to turn situations around, and work all things together for the good of those who love you and have been called according to you purpose (Romans 8:28). Lord, there is no one more greater than you. There is no one greater than you. Lord, help us not to be distracted by those who plot against us in word or deed. Lord, keep our eyes focused on you and mindful of the things you point out to us. Lord, don’t let us fall into traps disguised as something that they are not. Lord, give us eyes to see, discernment to do the right thing, and an obedient heart to follow after you. Lord, continue to be with our nation. Destroy the plots that are being plotted against your children. Lord, give us favor and let your kingdom work to continue safely in the church, in the church parking lots, church on-line, church in our hearts, in the streets, in state capitols across the nation, in the White House, and around the world. Lord, we need you. Pour out your Holy Spirit, dismantle lies and deception, and lead us into truth and compassion for others. Cover and shield us as we follow you. In Jesus name, amen.


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