Daily Devotion for July 27, 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.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
But a man of understanding holds his peace.
Paul's Third Journey
Acts 19:23-27 (NIV)
The Riot in Ephesus 
About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way.
A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in a lot of business for the craftsmen there. He called them together, along with the workers in related trades, and said: "You know, my friends, that we receive a good income from this business. And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia.
He says that gods made by human hands are no gods at all. There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited; and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty."
Notes on the Scripture
It is tempting to see Demetrius as greedy and a bit silly — nothing more than protecting his job of building silver items to honor a lesser Greek deity; but studying 1st Century Ephesus sheds a different light.
The Temple of Artemis, in Ephesus, was one of the seven wonders of the world. The Temple was four times the size of the Parthenon, a magnificent and awe-inspiring sight. Moreover, it was ancient. The temple of Paul's time was probably the third Temple of Artemis on the site; like St. Paul's Cathedral in London, it was destroyed several times and then rebuilt, larger and more magnificent each time. Nobody knows when the first temple was built, but it was probably sometime around 1000 B.C.
In addition, it was the center of life in the city and one of the centers of Greek culture. Numerous festivals were held there, with games, theater, markets, etc. It was a primary place for young Greeks to find spouses.
It is a shame that the temple was destroyed around 400 A.D. It would have ranked with the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China as one of the top tourist destinations in the world.
In a word, the Temple of Artemis was the greatest architectural achievement of Greek civilization. Its size, splendor, antiquity, and cultural importance was unequaled. Understanding this, we can understand the magnitude of the Ephesians' reaction when they believed it to be under threat from Paul's teaching.