Paul had just cast the devil out of a young lady who was being used in divination and witchcraft and now the war started. When this interfered with her master’s way of making a living they grabbed Paul and Silas and took them to the leaders of the city. It’s amazing what greed can do to you; they rather have money from divination than have the young girl set free from demonic activity. Greed is an awful thing because it will turn your heart away from Father God so quickly. Now we see what could have sparked a revival causing a riot but if it takes a riot to have revival the price is still worth it. We will learn the riot allowed Paul and Silas to touch hundreds of lives in a prison.
20 "The whole city is in an uproar because of these Jews!" they shouted to the city officials. 21 "They are teaching customs that are illegal for us Romans to practice."
Notice the lies:
1. Whole city is in an uproar. This was not true, only those who lost their source of income were upset. I’ve learned a long time ago that when someone comes to me and says the whole area, the whole church, the whole organization is upset that usually it is them and their little band of followers which is usually family that is upset. I know Father God has to just giggle when things like this are spoken. Pastor the whole church is upset and find out it’s the person speaking and their mama, help me preach somebody. Friends, never let a personal opinion allow you to cause division in the house of the Lord; there is a high price to pay because division will keep people from being saved and others from growing into their spiritual destiny and their blood will be on their hands.
2. Teaching customs illegal for them to keep. This was also another lie because Paul was only teaching the Kingdom of God which was for every culture and every person on planet earth. The truth was they were mad because their source of income was depleted. I’ve seen others get mad when truth was spoken and their power or influence was diminished. Never forget, Greed and Power (influence) can become a god to many people. I’ve learned this; I don’t really know someone until they are given a little authority. The test of real
servant-hood Christianity is this, can you stay humble while serving in leadership? Can you still keep a towel mentality with a leadership title? The sad part is this, many can’t.
Their title becomes their identity instead of the love of God being their identity. Over 50 years of being in church I’ve seen this happen too often; people getting a title and it going to their head. Friends, I never need a title to serve with a towel and if I have a title, the title must never become more important than the towel. Just because we might have a title doesn’t make us God. No my friend, to whom much is given much is required. When you are a leader, Father God will test not only your works but even the motives of your heart. The bigger test is when you are done wrong God checks your fruits because a leader must know how to still bear fruit when being done wrong. They have to be able to pray Father forgive them as they nail you to a cross.
22 A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. 23 They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn't escape. 24 So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks.
I wonder if Paul and Silas knew this was going to happen for just having revival and casting out a devil. There is always a price to pay for real revival and to walk in real power. Notice that because a few got upset a mob was formed and within a short period of time Paul and Silas were stripped and beaten with wooden rods. I know how we sing and rejoice when a demon is cast out, but can we still walk Godly when we are being lied about and beaten down with false accusations?
Soon Paul and Silas found themselves in the inner prison, the dirtiest and most awful part of the prisons of those days. It was dark, it stunk, and it was dirty and they were not even allowed to walk around but rather their feet were put in stocks, like they were murderers. Next week we will see how they overcame this time of testing!
Prayer Points: Father help us to keep a servant’s attitude in your Kingdom and a son’s attitude in your Family. Keep us Hungry and Humble in Jesus Name.