Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart: https://sothrichfield.podbean.com
Acts 21:27-36 (NIV)
27 When the seven days were nearly over, some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul at the temple. They stirred up the whole crowd and seized him, 28 shouting, “Fellow Israelites, help us! This is the man who teaches everyone everywhere against our people and our law and this place. And besides, he has brought Greeks into the temple and defiled this holy place.” 29 (They had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with Paul and assumed that Paul had brought him into the temple.) 30 The whole city was aroused, and the people came running from all directions. Seizing Paul, they dragged him from the temple, and immediately the gates were shut. 31 While they were trying to kill him, news reached the commander of the Roman troops that the whole city of Jerusalem was in an uproar. 32 He at once took some officers and soldiers and ran down to the crowd. When the rioters saw the commander and his soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. 33 The commander came up and arrested him and ordered him to be bound with two chains. Then he asked who he was and what he had done. 34 Some in the crowd shouted one thing and some another, and since the commander could not get at the truth because of the uproar, he ordered that Paul be taken into the barracks. 35 When Paul reached the steps, the violence of the mob was so great he had to be carried by the soldiers. 36 The crowd that followed kept shouting, “Get rid of him!”
What is the strangest thing you have ever seen done in the name of religion?
Holy Spirit, I know that You are actively working in this world. How and what you are doing is not always clear, but I trust that You are doing something. I shudder when I hear the news. Evil is ratcheting up to new levels. Hatred is growing and people’s lives are destroyed due to manipulation and lies. It looks like the devil is winning. You, Lord, are greater than all evil. You have a plan. And even if getting to the other side of Your plan includes Paul being beaten and bound in chains, or dealing with the daily evils of our current society, You are at work. You use all things for the good of everyone who loves You. Out of bad situations comes opportunities for good. Sometimes it takes exposing evil for what it is for people to recognize it and stand up to it. Sometimes out of tragedies other people are healed, given direction or hope or their hearts are opened to Your Word. I used to work with a business that employed only people who had recovered from past addictions to provide transitional employment to men and women who are currently recovering from alcoholism and other drug addiction. The business provided jobs, support, and hope after addiction. Lord, You turn bad things into good. Help me to trust Your plan. Help me to not focus on the bad that is happening around me, but on You, Your Word, and the good that You are doing. Jesus, You have made a difference in my life. You loved me when I was a sinner, forgave me, and transformed my life. To borrow words from the song “Waymaker”; Even when I don’t see it, You are working. Even when I don’t feel it You are working. You Never Stop Working. You are a Waymaker. Amen