…and beauty of being a part of His providential plans
Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Sabbath, February 14, 2015
Based Upon Acts 16
Today’s theme chapter has so inspired me that I am compelled to paraphrase certain parts of the story.
As usual, Paul and Silas were preaching the great news of salvation through Jesus Christ. They had plans to go to one city, but the Lord rerouted their trip (there are great lessons in this). Eventually, their heels were dogged by a woman who was demon possessed. For several days, her mouth said “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation,” but her life was still under the control of demons. After a time, the Lord used the apostles to cause her testimony of the men’s mission, and her lifestyle to match. She was delivered from her bondage to Satan.
As they continued preaching the gospel, Paul and Silas were accosted, stripped, flogged in the streets, and imprisoned. The message they taught crossed the self-serving economy of those making money on the girl who was demon possessed. While they were in prison, they began to worship, sing hymns, and pray. At midnight (search the Bible for things that happen at midnight), the Bible says that the earth began to quake! Then every single prisoner was miraculously set free! Their chains fell off and the gates were opened. Hallelujah! It get’s better: The jailer heard the commotion and tried to commit suicide, because he thought everyone escaped, but Paul stopped him. The jailer was reduced to a puddle of tears and cried saying, “What must I do to be saved?” Paul said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you and your whole household will be saved.” The apostles preached the message of love and peace to the jailer’s household, and they were all baptized. Then the jailer mollified the wounds of the apostles and the story continues.
Did you see how many people were set free in this story, because God’s people allowed Him to direct their paths? Suppose they chose to chart their own course those few days? How many people would have missed out on deliverance? This lesson illustrates the beauty of surrendering all of our plans to the Lord, and allowing our lives, even through trials, to be a praise to magnify His kingdom. Are you willing to be used by God to set others free?