Tuesday 26 July 2022

Bible Book:

But Paul shouted in a loud voice, 'Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.' (v. 28)

Acts 16: 16-34 Tuesday 26 July 2022

Psalm 127


Today's passage begins "One day, as we were going to the place of prayer..." 'We' refers to Paul, Silas, Timothy (whom Paul asked to come with them while they passed through Lystra) and Luke, who wrote both the Gospel and the Book of Acts. Other local followers may well have been present. Barnabas and John-Mark had just gone to Cyprus, after Barnabas disagreed with Paul about Mark’s worth.

Out of the group it seems only Paul and Silas were arrested; they would have been considered the ring leaders.

The slave girl with a spirit of divination is effectively a clairvoyant. Unlike science, the Bible does not declare clairvoyance impossible: It does warn of impotence compared to consulting the living God, and it implies that reliance on such supernatural messages is contrary to God’s good purposes, as Saul discovered in 1 Samuel 28:3-25. The spirit of clairvoyance is exorcised when Paul and Silas grow impatient with being followed and announced in this way, but their key consideration may have been the taking advantage of a vulnerable person (the slave girl) to make money.

Paul and Silas remained where they were in prison, praying and singing, when the earthquake came. They did not take advantage of the situation, but considered the guard’s wellbeing, knowing his life might be forfeited for theirs. They earned his astonished trust, and his interest in a religion that could cause people to have concern for others – even for those whose role was to punish them for trying to convert people away from Roman worship.

To Ponder:         

  • A central theme of both Judaism and Christianity involves balancing human free will with following God’s purposes. How do you find a balance which at its heart has the wellbeing of those less powerful than yourself?
  • How might you discover situations where people exploit the vulnerable for their own benefit where you live? What might be your response as a representative of God’s grace?
  • Psalm 127 suggests that those who put God at the centre of everything succeed. Do you agree? In what ways was God at the centre for Paul and Silas but not for those who profited from the girl?


Gracious God, help me not to look for easy answers, but to find joy in life through following your ways of faithful loving kindness.

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