Scriptures

When Not To Be Silent, Part 3

Introduction

‘In Lystra there sat a man who was lame. He had been that way from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed and called out, ‘Stand up on your feet!’ At that, the man jumped up and began to walk. When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, ‘The gods have come down to us in human form!’ Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker. The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting: ‘Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them. In the past, he let all nations go their own way. Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.’ Even with these words, they had difficulty keeping the crowd from sacrificing to them.’ Acts 14:8-18

During their first missionary journey, Paul and Barnabas left Iconium for Lystra where they miraculously healed a man who had been lame from birth.

As indicated in the text above, the crowd was amazed by this miraculous work and shouted: ‘The gods have come down to us in human form!’ They were no longer seeing Paul and Barnabas as humans. They called Barnabas Zeus and Paul, Hermes (the names of their gods).

Their religious regard for Paul and Barnabas was so huge that the priest of Zeus brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them. When Paul and Barnabas heard what was going on, they knew it was a time ‘not to be silent’.

They tore their clothes to register their displeasure and told them that the position in which the crowd had put them did not belong to them as they also were humans just like the people of Lystra. They told them to turn from worthless idols to the living God who made the universe.

Do we allow people to put us on unnecessary pedestals? Preachers and teachers of God’s word sometimes are prone to fall into this trap when people start putting them in the place of Christ because of their eloquence or knowledge of God’s word. This is terribly dangerous! We see in denominations today where people have replaced ‘Thus says the Lord’ with ‘thus says my pastor’.

Several people of ‘perceived spiritual significance’ have been wrongly elevated to the position of God. Such is certainly a time not to be silent! We should not take what is not ours. We must always remember that in all things, Christ must have the pre-eminence as God has given Him a name that is above all names.

‘After Herod had a thorough search made for him and did not find him, he cross-examined the guards and ordered that they be executed. Then Herod went from Judea to Caesarea and stayed there. He had been quarrelling with the people of Tyre and Sidon; they now joined together and sought an audience with him. After securing the support of Blastus, a trusted personal servant of the king, they asked for peace, because they depended on the king’s country for their food supply. On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. They shouted, ‘This is the voice of a god, not of a man.’ Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died. But the word of God continued to spread and flourish. Acts.12:19-24

Prayer

Sovereign God and ruler of all, we ask that You enable us to humble ourselves before You and not be silent to declare your sovereignty always, especially when the need arises in Your Son’s name. Amen.

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

Hebrews 11:1

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