And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour. And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers, And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans. And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.
We’ve all met people who are “a few fries short of a happy meal,” but most of us have not had encounters with demon-possessed individuals. I can’t imagine what a scary thing that must be to sense the enemy indwelling and controlling another human being. Maybe because most of them are highly medicated…but that is a whole different topic.
As Paul and company was walking to the place of prayer, they encountered a fortune-telling demon-possessed girl. She followed behind them making a scene and crying out, “These men are the servants of the most high God, which will show us the way of salvation.” Now, every bit of that statement is true, but God is not the author of confusion or obnoxiousness. After doing this for several days, Paul recognizes that she is possessed by a demon and commands the demon out of her in the name of Jesus Christ. The demon left.
The girl’s owners where highly upset when they saw that their fortune-telling, profit-making scheme was over. They grabbed Paul and Silas, fortunately Luke and Timothy were not taken, and drug them in front of the military rulers of the city and made their complaint. They accused them of being Jewish troublemakers who taught unlawful customs. The mob joined in against them and military men stripped Paul and Silas of their clothes, the custom was to strip the offenders naked, and beat them in public to make an example to observers. By the way, in II Corinthians 11:25, Paul states that this happened to him three times. Then they were given to the jailor to be thrown into the maximum-security part of the jail with their feet separated wide apart in a device probably made of two pieces long, large wood blocks to prohibit them from walking or standing, minimizing the chance to escape. Not fun!
Sometimes we go through hard times. It might be finances, it might be reputation, it might be cancer like my sweet friend. Whatever the trial, God says that He will not give us more that we can handle (I Corinthians 10:13). God put Paul and Silas through an amazing amount of pain and torture, and they were able to show to everyone in the city how Jesus helps us go through trials. What an amazing testimony of God’s grace! Just imagine what was going through the military men’s minds as they were beating Paul and Silas!
Are you willing to go through pain in order for God to use you in other’s lives? Are you willing to show God’s grace through suffering? Maybe you are going through a difficult trial right now and you are having to ask God everyday for grace to make it through. God will be there for you! Just ask Him to fill you with His Spirit!
Written by Kaye Dee Richards. Kaye Dee lives with her husband Colin in Morrison, CO. They have 4 children, Joshua, Amelia, Victoria, and Julia.
To contact Kaye Dee, leave a comment, message us on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org.