Daily D – Acts 23:12-23

by | Jul 3, 2020 | Daily D | 0 comments

The next morning a group of Jews got together and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. There were more than forty of them in the conspiracy. ACTS 23:12-13 (NLT)

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Type in the internet search box “new weight loss plan.” If you use the same browser I did, you will notice that in just over half a second 898,000,000 results come up. That is nearly a billion results. This does not mean there are nearly a billion weight loss plans. It does mean there are more than you could try in your lifetime if you gave each a good season’s worth of effort. Helpfully, healthline.com provides The 8 Best Diet Plans. That ought to give you enough options for two full years if you try one per quarter.

One plan probably does not make any of these lists. It is the plan found in Acts 23:12-15. There we see forty guys who decided they would not eat or drink until they killed Paul. Once their plot is discovered, the Roman military leaders transported Paul under the cover of darkness in quite a parade to Caesarea, back where Agabus told Paul this was going to happen to him. I wonder if he visited Paul at the Praetorium to say, “Told you so”? I wonder if Paul replied, “This journey isn’t over yet”?

I wonder if those forty guys starved to death?

It is wise not to make rash vows. It is especially wise not to put your life on the line with a foolish vow. It even more especially wise not to oppose the will and plan of God with a rash and foolish vow. You could end up really, really hungry and thirsty. You could end up dead.

Paul was right where he needed to be right when he needed to be there. The next few chapters of Acts are full of his testimony borne to leaders of all kinds. Paul was a prisoner, but the gospel was unchained. It emanated from his cell through his letters. It was declared in courtrooms and conversations. It was recorded to teach and encourage us.

Out of the darkest of days with life on the line, God changed the world forever. Circumstances were far from ideal. Bad things happened to good people. Dangers appeared everywhere. Through it all, God’s purpose prevailed.

I wonder if Psalm 80 ever crossed Paul’s mind when he sat in jailhouses, when he was adrift in a storm, when he was pelted by rain and bitten by a snake? Verses 3 and 7 provide good prayers to pray in seasons of distress:

Turn us again to yourself, O God.
Make your face shine down upon us.
Only then will we be saved.
v. 3

Turn us again to yourself, O God of Heaven’s Armies.
Make your face shine down upon us.
Only then will we be saved.
v. 7

On second thought, Paul probably did not need those prayers. However, there were forty guys several days into an endless fast who did.

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I will endeavor to always be where I need to be to experience the fullness of God’s purpose.

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Our Father, two verses come to mind when I think of this period of Paul’s life. Psalm 23:3, 4 says, “He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me,” (ESV). Sometimes the right path goes through dangerous places. The bigger danger, however, is for any who oppose your plans and attempt to obstruct your path. I will go with you. Lead on, O King Eternal! Amen.

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The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Ge 15:6.

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