Scripture reading for June 3rd: Acts 21, Psalm 110, Proverbs 17
Key Scriptures: Acts 21:10-13 “While we were staying for many days, a prophet named Agabus come down from Judea. And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘This is how the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.'” When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the Name of the Lord Jesus.””
Paul had had many warnings of coming imprisonment. God always prepares His own for what is ahead and His Presence guides them through the storms and trouble. We naturally want to protect our loved ones from suffering or trials. God’s people count it all joy when the trials come, knowing that the testing of their faith brings endurance and helps complete Christ’s work in others and us.
Faith Confession: Lord, thank You for this record of Paul’s faith confession that encourages me to stand true to You no matter what the consequences. I trust You for grace sufficient to each trial in my life.
Psalm 110:3 “Your people will offer themselves freely on the day of Your power, in holy garments; from the womb of the morning, the dew of your youth will be yours.”
Scripture reading for July 2nd: Acts 21:18-36
Just as God had allowed Paul to know what awaited him in Jerusalem, events in our reading today unfolded to bring God’s word to pass. Religious people hold strong opinions and often the truth interferes with their ability to hold those opinions. They must eliminate those who hold other views that threaten their opinions. Often they actually believe that they are doing God a favor even though they are openly breaking His law! This is real deception!
Paul arrived in Jerusalem and went to see James and the elders there and report what God had done among the Gentiles that he had visited. They rejoiced at what God had done but saw a problem coming there in Jerusalem. Many Jews knew Paul’s reputation and how he had been teaching among the Gentiles that they did not need to keep the law of Moses or circumcise their bodies. They knew that there was a potential conflict and possible trouble and devised a plan for Paul to purify himself according to the Law. This process would take seven days and an offering and Paul went and made notice in the temple of this process.
When the seven days were nearly over, Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul at the temple and stirred up the crowd. People came running from everywhere and they seized Paul and dragged him from the temple trying to kill him and beating him savagely. The commander of Roman troops took some soldiers and ran into the crowd and they stopped beating him. Paul was arrested and put in chains and then asked what he had done. There was another uproar and Paul had to be physically carried out by the soldiers as the crowd shouted, “Away with him!” (Acts 21:36)
It is interesting to note that these were Jews attending the temple in order to worship God and offer sacrifice according to God’s law. One of God’s laws was “Do not commit murder” (Exodus 20:13) and they were ready to kill Paul before even going through a trial or hearing witnesses. They had judged him guilty of sin against God because they heard that he had broken their concept of God’s law. Any judgment that condemns someone belongs to God alone. We must check our hearts and make sure our zeal is properly directed. Religion can be violent and dangerous!