Daily Devotion for July 10, 2011
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Sunday anthem, How Amiable is Thy Blessing, from St. John's Episcopal Church in Detroit.
"For Each New Morning"For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
I thank thee.
Prayer for Peace
May the forgiving spirit of Him to whom we dedicate this season prevail again on earth. May hunger disappear and terrorists cease their senseless acts.
May people live in freedom, worshiping as they see fit, loving others. May the sanctity of the home be ever preserved.
May peace, everlasting peace, reign supreme.
Now unto him that is able to keep me from falling, and to present me faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
My glory and the One who lifts up my head.
I cried to the Lord with my voice,
And He heard me from His holy hill.
Paul's Second Journey
Acts 16:16-24 (ESV)
Paul and Silas in Prison
As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. She followed Paul and us, crying out, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation." And this she kept doing for many days.
Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her." And it came out that very hour.
But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, "These men are Jews, and they are disturbing our city. They advocate customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to accept or practice."
The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.
Notes on the Scripture
Paul was not in Philippi (the largest city in Macedonia) for long before he started causing trouble. Usually the disturbances he caused began in synagogues, where part of the congregation would be outraged at his heresy, i.e. teaching that Jesus was the Son of God.
But the Jewish population of Philippi was apparently very small. There is no mention of a synagogue. Since a synagogue requires only ten Jewish men to convene, and any significant Jewish community will start one, it would mean a near absence of Jewish residents. Also, the crowd's identification of the missionaries as "Jews" tends to show that they were an oddity.
Lacking his usual means of raising havoc, Paul does the one thing that is guaranteed to create political action: he hurts the profits of local businessmen. The slave woman, like a gypsy at a fair, was telling fortunes for money. When Paul cast out her spirit, the source of profit was destroyed.
The punishment for this comes quickly because they are outsiders, foreigners, and Jews. Local Greeks or Roman citizens, even in 50 A.D., would have received the benefit of rudimentary legal process (as we will see in the next few verses).
But the oddest thing about this story is that Paul has silenced a woman because she was following him around, proclaiming that he was bringing salvation from God. She simply got on his nerves. Paul always struggled with pride, and here, he seems to have stuck his hand in the hornets' nest for a questionable result. He just liked to cause trouble! Lacking a synagogue to outrage, he has been forced to improvise a way to anger the Greeks.