Think About It
- Have you ever been up against overwhelming odds?
- If so, how did you see your way out of the situation?
- Did God have a hand in your “survival”?
- Did you acknowledge God’s intervention in it?
Our passage again today is long and ties to yesterday’s entry. I hope you will take the time to look back at yesterday’s scripture and read today’s passage carefully too. Note how much Paul, himself, had to do with his survival.
A Plot to Kill Paul – Acts 23:12-24 (focusing on 23-24) NIV
The next morning the Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves to an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. More than forty men were involved in this plot. They went to the chief priests and elders and said, “We have taken a solemn oath not to eat anything until we have killed Paul. Now then, you and the Sanhedrin petition the commander to bring him before you on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about his case.We are ready to kill him before he gets here.
But when the son of Paul’s sister heard of the plot, he went into Paul’s barracks and told him.
Then Paul called one of the centurions and said, “Take this young man to the commander; he has something to tell him.” So he took him to the commander.
The centurion said, “Paul, the prisoner, sent for me and asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you.”
The commander took the young man by the hand, drew him aside and asked, “What is it you want to tell me?”
He said, “The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul before the Sanhedrin tomorrow on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about him. Don’t give in to them, because more than forty of them are waiting in ambush for him. They have taken an oath not to eat or drink until they have killed him. They are ready now, waiting for your consent to their request.”
The commander dismissed the young man and cautioned him, “Don’t tell anyone that you have reported this to me.”
Then he called two of his centurions and ordered them, “Get ready a detachment of two hundred soldiers, seventy horseman and two hundred spearman to go to Caesarea at nine tonight. Provide mounts for Paul so that he may be taken safely to Governor Felix.”
Against Big Odds
Our last time together, we read about God clearly telling Paul that he would testify in Rome, even though the odds were definitely not looking good.
In what was surely a discouraging time for Paul, the Lord, Himself, stood near Paul and encouraged him. Then, the plot to kill Paul was revealed by his nephew to the commander who was held responsible to Rome for Roman citizens to be protected, so responsible for Paul’s protection. The people who plotted to kill Paul were not fooling around. They had even taken an oath not to eat or drink until they had succeeded.
When the commander learned of this plot, he placed a huge army of soldiers around Paul, some 470 men! They were to take him straight to Rome! How’s that for intervention!
Some would say that Paul’s nephew had a hand in Paul’s protection so maybe it wasn’t so miraculous after all. However, if Paul’s nephew had not been where he could overhear the plot, Paul would not have known about it and would not have had any message for the commander. The commander would not have known to stop the ambush. God was totally in it all – Paul’s protection and immediate transport to Rome. This thrills my soul!! God is able to reverse any odds!!!
To the Verse 23:
Then he called two of his centurions and ordered them, “Get ready a detachment of two hundred soldiers, seventy horseman and two hundred spearman to go to Caesarea at nine tonight… “
Now, think back to what God told Paul when He stood near to him. He said that Paul would testify of Him in Rome. Very close to the same time that God was encouraging Paul, the plot to end Paul’s life and his testimony were being set in place.
Strong and Mighty
Once again, God showed Himself strong! He literally wrapped hundreds of soldiers around Paul to shield him against forty men. Now those odds are laughable! I just love how God sometimes does things BIG!
To the verse 24:
“…Provide mounts for Paul so that he may be taken safely to Governor Felix.”
God is able to make His plan go forth. Sometimes we do not even know how He has intervened such as a canceled trip keeping us from being in a horrible accident. I am sure you have heard stories of ways God spared other people with these kinds of quiet interventions. Other times, He intervenes in big loud ways – like putting an army of 470 between one man and his 40 enemies. He may not always do things the way we want Him to, but He will do them according to His will.
God is so big. And, He holds you and me in the palm of His hand, closes His fingers around us and allows in only the things that will make us more like Jesus. What a mighty, beautiful God we serve!
Things to Ponder:
- Are you facing overwhelming odds right now?
- Do you know that God holds you in the palm of His hand?
- Ask Him to carry you through and help you to do what He wants you to do today. He is able!