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Acts Reading Plan | Week 16 | Day 4
Take a moment to be silent and still. In order to be fully present in body and mind, take a deep breath in and let it out slowly. Do this three times.
In John 13:7, Jesus told His disciples, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Maybe you’re feeling that way today. You don’t understand what God is doing. Open your time with Jesus, bringing any situations that confuse you to Him and ask Him to guide you. Thank Him that you can trust Him.
Bible Reading: Acts 23:12-35
Read these verses three times slowly.
When it was day, the Jews made a plot and bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. There were more than forty who made this conspiracy. They went to the chief priests and elders and said, “We have strictly bound ourselves by an oath to taste no food till we have killed Paul. Now therefore you, along with the council, give notice to the tribune to bring him down to you, as though you were going to determine his case more exactly. And we are ready to kill him before he comes near.”
Now the son of Paul’s sister heard of their ambush, so he went and entered the barracks and told Paul. Paul called one of the centurions and said, “Take this young man to the tribune, for he has something to tell him.” So he took him and brought him to the tribune and said, “Paul the prisoner called me and asked me to bring this young man to you, as he has something to say to you.” The tribune took him by the hand, and going aside asked him privately, “What is it that you have to tell me?” And he said, “The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down to the council tomorrow, as though they were going to inquire somewhat more closely about him. But do not be persuaded by them, for more than forty of their men are lying in ambush for him, who have bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink till they have killed him. And now they are ready, waiting for your consent.” So the tribune dismissed the young man, charging him, “Tell no one that you have informed me of these things.”
Then he called two of the centurions and said, “Get ready two hundred soldiers, with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen to go as far as Caesarea at the third hour of the night. Also provide mounts for Paul to ride and bring him safely to Felix the governor.” And he wrote a letter to this effect:
“Claudius Lysias, to his Excellency the governor Felix, greetings. This man was seized by the Jews and was about to be killed by them when I came upon them with the soldiers and rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman citizen. And desiring to know the charge for which they were accusing him, I brought him down to their council. I found that he was being accused about questions of their law, but charged with nothing deserving death or imprisonment. And when it was disclosed to me that there would be a plot against the man, I sent him to you at once, ordering his accusers also to state before you what they have against him.”
So the soldiers, according to their instructions, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris. And on the next day they returned to the barracks, letting the horsemen go on with him. When they had come to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they presented Paul also before him. On reading the letter, he asked what province he was from. And when he learned that he was from Cilicia, he said, “I will give you a hearing when your accusers arrive.” And he commanded him to be guarded in Herod’s praetorium.
Reflection & Questions
Today, we read of how the danger for Paul is intensifying. He is so hated that there’s an assassination plot against him, and the plotters “bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink till they had killed Paul.”
What we see here in these verses, is that even though God is not specifically named, He is at work. We’ve read throughout Acts, “the Spirit guided” and “the Spirit prevented…”. In these verses today, the Spirit isn’t named, but we can see God at work. Paul’s nephew just so happens to hear the assassination plot. He tells Paul, Paul tells the tribune, and the tribune just so happens to believe Paul. The tribune just so happens to provide an armed guard to safely transport Paul to the governor for his case to be heard.
This story is a great example of God at work behind the scenes. The nephew is in the right place at the right time. The tribune is open to listening to Paul and provides safe passage. Another example of God working behind the scenes is the story of Esther we will be digging into this Fall at Crossroads. Sometimes God works in very visible ways, even speaking to us. But much more often, he works behind the scenes. We wonder what He is up to. He might not make Himself visible or audible, but as we wait on Him, we see Him working through circumstances. As we learn to walk with Jesus, our trust will grow, and we will gain a sensitivity to the ways that He is directing our steps.
- Look back on your life. What are some ways that you can see that God was at work behind the scenes in your life?
- What is a situation you are facing right now that you need God’s guidance? Talk to Him about that. Ask Him to give you a sensitivity to how He is guiding.
Talk to God in response to today’s reading.
You might use this song today to worship Jesus today:
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