Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Acts 16:16-18

Summary retelling of Acts 16:16-18

As Paul and his followers are headed to their place of worship, they came across a woman who was possessed by a spirit.  This woman was able to see into the future (called divination here, not “prophecy”).  The people that owned her as a slave made much money off of her.  Once she met Paul, she kept following around Paul and his friends telling everyone that she met that they are “servants of the Most High God” and are “capable of telling them the way to salvation.”  She did this for many days, and finally Paul got so annoyed that he commanded the spirit to come out of her.  The spirit did come out.

Thoughts for Today
First Thought:
Isn’t it sad to see how human beings will use each other to make money?  Here is a woman who is clearly being oppressed by some kind of spirit and rather than seeking to help the slave girl her masters see it as an opportunity to make money.  It just goes to show how much human beings are self-mongers.  We care about ourselves and our livelihood far more than we care about the livelihood, health, and safety of the people who are around us – even those under our care.

Why do you think people have such a hard time valuing the health and safety of another person?  What modern examples can you think of that show how we don’t really care about the health and safety of one another?

Second Thought:
This girl keeps walking around behind Paul and his friends and speaking the truth.  It might seem odd that Paul got irritated, because she didn’t say anything that was a lie.  However, even so it is highly likely that this woman was interfering with the ministry that Paul was trying to accomplish.  It is one thing to try and build relationships through the natural course of action.  It is another thing to have to build up relationships when other people keep interfering and not allowing the natural course of action to take place.  If nothing else, the woman was not “doing it God’s way.”

Does it surprise you to think that even the truth can be used as an obstacle to ministry?

Third Thought:
Paul commands the spirit to leave the girl alone.  The spirit obeys.  We’ll get to the consequences over the next few days, but for now we should focus on the fact that they spirit obeys.  When we are walking with God, even the spirits obey the authority that God places within us!

What authority can you bring to life that is greater than the authority that God can grant to you?  Why do we spend so much time chasing our own authority rather than pursuing God’s authority?

Passage for Tomorrow: Acts 16:19-24
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