November 09, 2020
One day in heaven we will marvel at the activity of God. He is sovereign and perfect and never evil. He sees all, but for the man who trusts and follows Him explicitly, he will be led in "all the right paths for God's name's sake." The will of God will be done, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. And sometimes, he can even use the evil of this world to get us there.
Paul had been impressed by God that he was to go to Rome. Look at the chain of events that began to unfold in Acts 21:8-12, ultimately heading to that God-ordained destination.
MULTIPLE PROPHETIC WARNINGS
Everywhere he turned, prophets warned him that there would be suffering if he went to Jerusalem. (vs. 10)
Paul ignored those warnings, led by the Spirit. This, in some sense, was a Gethsemane experience for him. The end result? He proclaimed, "I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus." (vs. 13)
GOOD FRIENDS WHO GAVE HIM BAD COUNSEL
The leaders of the church at Jerusalem, concerned that some of the Jewish Christians were irritated at Paul's seeming disregard for the Law, encouraged him to go through some rituals at the temple and take a few men with him. Paul agreed to go. This led to his eventual arrest.
FALSE ASSUMPTIONS BY ENEMIES
After doing this faithfully, the crowd proclaimed that he had taken a Gentile into the temple (which was illegal). It was not true, (vs. 29- "they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple"). The whole city was provoked, they sought to kill him, they beat him—all on a false supposition. If I were Paul, I would be screaming to try to justify myself. But that was not the response of this restful man of God.
AUTHORITIES THAT FALSELY ACCUSED HIM
The Romans came in to break up the crowd and arrested Paul. They based this on their assumption that he was an Egyptian rebel that had been stirring up the crowd in the past. Again, another false accusation.
The end result of this chain of events, and several others, was that Paul preached the gospel before crowds of people, before high government officials, and ultimately history records, before Caesar himself.
EMBRACING GOD'S SOVEREIGNTY
The lesson for us? Surrender to the will of God and do not kick at the means God uses to take you where He desires. You are placed here to proclaim the gospel. If God wants to use false accusations to put you in prison because there are lost men there, then make your defense, but trust the sovereignty of God.
One of my good friends was once falsely accused and went to prison (long story). When he finally surrendered to God's purpose, God used him to lead 70 men to Christ in prison! For the next 20+ years, he led several thousand to Christ through prison ministry. Anywhere we are placed (by any means) God can use us to proclaim the gospel.
God knows what He's doing and where He's leading ... and He can even utilize an evil world to accomplish His purposes. And the greater the darkness around us, the greater our Light becomes.
Father, help me to trust You. Let me not kick against the actions of Divine Providence as You use all things to work together for Your purposes. Thank You that You have promised to take care of me if I keep trusting You. Help me to fulfill the purposes of God in my generation.
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