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26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bands were loosed.
After the council of Jerusalem had settled the question concerning the necessity of gentiles keeping the law and submitting to circumcision; they sent Paul, Barnabas, Barsabas and Silas to deliver copies of their decrees to the gentile churches in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia (Acts 15:22-23).
After spending some time at Antioch, Paul desired that he and Barnabas could revisit the churches they had visited on their first missionary journey. Barnabas wanted to take Mark with them but Paul disagreed because Mark had dropped out of the first trip and returned home . After a sharp disagreement, Barnabas and Mark went to Cyprus and Paul chose Silas to accompany him on the second trip (Acts 15:36-41). The net result was that now there were four people preaching the gospel rather than two. God works that way sometimes, eh?
At Troas, Paul saw a vision of a man from Macedonia appealing for him to come over to Macedonia to help in preaching the gospel. Immediately he and Silas set sail for that country and ended up in Philippi (Acts 16:8-12). Their first converts were of the household of Lydia (Acts 16:14-15).
So far, so good, but trouble lay just ahead. A young women, possessed of the devil followed Paul and Silas and continually cried out, “ These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.” While this was true, Paul didn't care for the testimony of devils. He commanded the devil to come out of the girl (Acts 16:18) and the girl was set free. This stirred up those men who had taken advantage of this poor girl's spirit of divination to make money. They brought Paul and Silas to the rulers of the city and complained that these Jews were troubling the city and teaching customs that were unlawful for them to keep, because they were Romans.
After receiving a beating, Paul and Silas were put into the inner prison and secured in stocks, which brings us now to out main text.
Acts 16:25 ¶ And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
And at Midnight The word Midnight is often used rhetorically to describe a time of great hardship and emotion turmoil. Things can be going along very well and then suddenly change. A change of health or job status, the death of a loved one and any number of things can cause us to despair and wonder what's happening.
Paul and Silas were going about kingdom business and were rewarded with being beaten and cast into prison. It doesn't seem fair, does it? Well it does seem fair when we remember what Jesus suffered at the cross. He told us that we would be taken before powers and magistrates as a witness to Him. At such times we need not think of what to say but to simply let the Holy ghost speak through us. All this that the kingdom of God might be established (Mt. 5:11-12). The disciple was not above his Master. If they persecuted Him, they would persecute us also (Mt. 10:25). We are to told rejoice and count it all joy when these things come upon us (Mt. 6:22-23). Our reward in heaven will make us forget about whatever suffering we may have endured.
Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God:
It's easy to sing and shout when everything is going our way. When we can praise and worship God in the midst of trial and despair really reveals what we are made of spiritually. Romans 8:17 tells us that if we suffer with Him we will be glorified together with Him. Paul and Silas did not feel sorry for themselves, but rather were of the same mind set as the other apostles who rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer for the name of Christ (Acts 5:41). They began to pray. No doubt knowing that they were being used for the furtherance of the kingdom caused them to be overcome with emotion and the heartfelt praises began to roll.
and the prisoners heard them:
The other prisoners probably wondered what was wrong with these fellows, but Paul and Silas did not put there light under a bushel( Luke 11:33). They were unashamed for the others to hear them praise and magnify their God. God was pleased with their offering of praise. Suddenly there was an earthquake that shook the foundations of the prison and the gates were thrown open.
Our circumstances may not compare with those of Paul and Silas but we may be assured that our God is listening and that He will act on our behalf when we without reservation began to praise and glorify his name.
Song: All Because
"If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him." C.T. Studd
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Don and Marie Spooner
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Last modified: 10-11-2016
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