Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Acts 13:9-12


Summary retelling of Acts 13:9-12

As Elymas opposed Paul and Barnabas, Paul opposes him.  Paul calls Elymas the son of the Devil.  He then calls him the enemy of righteousness.  Then Paul asks Elymas how much longer he intends to make crooked the ways of the Lord – which are already straight.  Paul then tells Elymas that he will be blind and be unable to see for a time.  Elymas is immediately blinded and the proconsul believes in the power of God and the teaching of the Lord.

Thoughts for Today
First Thought:
Paul doesn’t back down from the fight.  He steps up to Elymas and informs Elymas that he is in the wrong.  He does not allow himself to be pushed around, even though he’s actually in Elymas’ home court!  This is a very risky move, because Elymas was quite friendly with the proconsul and if Paul upset the proconsul he could have found himself in prison.

Do you think Paul is smart in his aggressiveness?  What is Paul risking by being aggressive?  How can you tell when to be aggressive and when to play it safe?  Why might Paul be able to be so strong?

Second Thought:
Paul tells Elymas to quit making the straight ways of the Lord crooked.  This is really a brilliant critique if we think about it.  If we truly believe that God’s ways are the best and always have the best outcomes, then those are the ways that are “straight.”  But if we sin, lead people into self-centered lives, and convince others to not follow the ways that are really best for them then we can be said to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord.  That is precisely what Elymas is doing by arguing with Paul and Barnabas.

How does it make you feel to think that every time you sin – or get in the way of God’s work – you are guilty of making crooked the straight ways of the Lord?

Third Thought:
Elymas is blinded for at least a little while.  The blinding of Elymas serves three purposes.  First, it demonstrates that Paul is the one who knows what he is talking about.  Second, it serves to be the impetus for the belief of the proconsul.  Third, it serves as the perfect judgment for Elymas.  Elymas was too blind to see the straight ways of the Lord for what they are, therefore Elymas’ sight is taken from him.  Whether Elymas uses the time or not, it should have given him ample opportunity to consider how well he sees compared to how well he thinks that he sees.

How does it make you feel to know that God occasionally does use things like blindness as judgment?

Passage for Tomorrow: Acts 13:13-25
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