Getting Back on Plan Acts 9:23-25
"After many days had gone by, the Jews conspired to kill him, but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him. But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall."
Thoughts for Today:The Jews were completely baffled -- here was Saul, their number one persecutor of the new Christian movement, who was now preaching, teaching and proving that "Jesus is the Christ" (verse 9:22). They were having difficulty arguing his message so they did the next best thing -- they tried to kill the messenger. Fortunately, Paul's followers saved his life by taking him at night and lowering him in a basket, through a hole in the city wall in order to escape to Jerusalem.
It is interesting to me that the Book of Acts does not speak about mass conversions to Christianity as a result of Saul's preaching in Damascus (unlike Phillip in Samaria). I think the reason for this lies in verse 9:15 -- the Lord's instruction was for Saul to first carry the Lord's Name before the Gentiles, then their kings, and lastly the Jews. Saul began with the Jews, and as so often happens when we try to work for the Lord rather than doing the Lord's work -- it was a disaster. No one was converted -- they just wanted to kill him. God didn't want Saul in Damascus preaching to the Jews -- He wanted him somewhere else -- back on God's plan not Saul's plan.
Questions to Ponder:Our own power or God's power -- how do we know the difference? I was speaking with one of the leaders of our Men's Community a few Saturdays ago, thanking him for the great job that he and his team had done of organizing the sign-ins and collection of money for our breakfast. His response will tell you the answer to the "my power or God's power" question. He said, "It was easy, I'm good at it and I enjoy doing it." The result was overall success -- the sign-in process was smooth and efficient. When we use our talents and gifts (his was organizational skill) according to God's will, the result will always seem effortless and exceed the expectations of those around us. What have your results been recently? If you are having difficulty in Christian service you might want to consider where you are doing your will instead of God's will.
The Pocket Testament League