Acts 22:19 And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee:
20 And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him.
21 And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.
22 And they gave him audience unto this word, and then lifted up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live.
23 And as they cried out, and cast off their clothes, and threw dust into the air,
24 The chief captain commanded him to be brought into the castle, and bade that he should be examined by scourging; that he might know wherefore they cried so against him.
As we noted yesterday, God cares for His children. He knows our needs better than we do. He knows the challenges we will face and He also knows how to protect us from unneeded harm. The apostle Paul was giving a testimony of his conversion in our text and he needed to be trained for the ministry he was called to. He needed some time for that and he needed to be further prepared for the many challenges he would face as an apostle.
In verse 19 he tried to justify his plans to go to Jerusalem. Paul was excited about his new life in Christ. However, God knew some things about people that Paul did not understand when he was first saved. Unbelievers can be very hostile and sometimes saints can be very reluctant to accept God’s work in certain people’s lives.
In verse 20 Paul continued to remind God of his past. Paul would learn that God knows more about us than we sometimes want to admit about ourselves. He is well aware of all that we have done, either for Him or against Him. Paul was not boasting about his past, but he thought that he would have an open door into the city because of his reputation. He may also have thought that it was his time to face the persecution he had inflicted on other saints prior to his salvation. He may have thought he was ready to face that persecution. We know that Paul did face severe persecution and in fact had faced it as he stood and gave his testimony.
In verse 21, God reminded Paul to listen to Him and obey Him. God had other plans for Paul and His plans were the right plans. Paul understood that more as time went on. As a new believer, he needed to learn the importance of listening to God and following through with what he was told to do.
It is always important for God’s children to learn to listen to what He has to say and to obey Him. We can trust God fully. Those who are saved have already trusted God with the keeping of their soul. Now it is important to trust God with directing us physically as well. The need is great all over. However, God has a specific place for each one of His children and each one needs to be willing to listen to Him and follow Him.
In verse 22 we see that the Jews listened to Paul as he gave his testimony. However, they rejected his record of events. They did not believe that Paul was being led by God. They assumed that they were being led by God and that Paul was an imposter. We read that they did not even want him to live.
These people remind us of our PM. He has very little tolerance for anyone who does not bow before him. He stated a while back that he did not know if Canadians should even let those who oppose the poison shots to be free in this country. He stated that we are taking up space in this country. It is an interesting thing when one man thinks he can determine who should live in this country and who should not. He grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth and he sits on wealth, but not enough to claim that he owns this country. He only received a little more than 30% of the vote in the last election so he has no right to claim that the people support him. He is a deluded man who has set up his own standard of right and wrong and will not tolerate anyone who chooses to challenge him. He is discovering that it is not only Canadians of European descent who oppose his rule, but even the Natives are growing tired of him. He is trying hard to create divisions in this country based on his standard of values. He has stated some years back that “evangelical Christians” are some of his biggest trouble. I think he has discovered since then that most “evangelical Christians” are quite willing to bow to his wicked plans.
In our text the uproar was due to the message that Paul was preaching. Paul was not a politician. He was not trying to be the governor or the emperor. Paul had a much higher calling than that. The ungodly despised him because his message was from God and It pricked their wicked hearts.
I read this week that the city of Calgary has passed a law regarding what they consider to be harassment of people in public. From what I have read, it seems that it is no longer acceptable in Calgary to witness to a lost person on the streets of Calgary. We know that Alberta has been one of the more hostile and intolerant provinces with regard to religion over the past two years.
Things are changing. Those who are saved need to be prepared for greater opposition. We need to pray for boldness and we need to pray for wisdom. We also need to pray for the salvation of those who have assumed positions of power in this country. We need to be careful not to hide behind lawyers and be willing to speak the truth to those who ask us the reason of the hope that is in us with meekness and with fear. Fear of God, not fear of man.
We see in verse 23 the vehement nature of these ungodly people. They were not going to be quiet about what they believed and what they wanted. They were ready for a lynching.
In verse 24 we see that the Romans did not know how to deal with this situation either. Rome was a wicked government system. The Roman Empire eventually fell due to its internal immorality. No nation came and destroyed it as had been the case with the previous three empires of the book of Daniel. The Roman Empire will be revived one day soon. We see evidence of that all around us. The democratic system we are living under is preparing this country for an even more dictatorial government than we currently have. This tyrannical system will be in place over the entire world in the future.
The chief captain was a lost man and he had no idea how to deal with this situation. He assumed that Paul must have been guilty of some crime and that he was not being honest about what was taking place. His plan was to beat Paul and thus get him to tell them the truth. He found what Paul had been saying strange and unbelievable. Such is the case for the ungodly. They cannot accept God’s working in any person’s life. They do not even believe in an all powerful God. This chief captain could have simply taken Paul inside the castle and talked to him to find out more about him. He would not get anything more out of him by beating him than he would by talking with him.
Such is the nature of the ungodly. They are afraid of the unknown and they want to maintain power at all costs. They have no sense of right and wrong and just want to keep the “peace”. That is the nature of democracy. Truth does not prevail. A pseudo peace is all that matters. Appeasement of the noise makers is what is important. Paul was not the one shouting and throwing up dust. It was the crowd that was doing that. The Romans did not want a war. They saw Paul as being in a minority, which he was, and they assumed that Paul needed to align himself with the unruly majority to keep the peace. They failed to recognize that God is in charge. He does not have many followers, but He does not need any followers to be right. He is God and those who choose to know Him are on the winning side.
Lost people are clueless when it comes to ruling. They can make speeches and pass laws, but they have no way of thinking rationally. It is the grace and mercy of God that keeps the ungodly from fulfilling their wicked plans. During the time of the antichrist, there will be more wickedness than this world has ever known. There will be no turning the clock back when that time comes. The time to be saved is today. Those who are saved need to stand upon the truth and understand that the devil hates the truth. Most people are followers of the devil and they have no use for truth either. They have a plan and they do not want any “interference” with their plan. Those who are saved have been blessed with God’s salvation and we have a message that needs to be told. We need God’s wisdom and His boldness to do the work He has called us to do in these last days.