After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome. So he sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timotheus and Erastus; but he himself stayed in Asia for a season. And the same time there arose no small stir about that way. For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen; Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth. Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands: So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth. And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre. And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not. And certain of the chief of Asia, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring him that he would not adventure himself into the theatre. Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together. And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made his defence unto the people. But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. And when the townclerk had appeased the people, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter? Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly. For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess. Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies: let them implead one another. But if ye enquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly. For we are in danger to be called in question for this day’s uproar, there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse. And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.
Sometimes our best plans are completely redirected. This summer, we, like everyone else in the world, had numerous plans for travel. All our plans were redirected by God in a worldwide crisis. (By the way, God is doing something big and I am excited to see what He has in store for us!) It is challenging when things don’t go our way, but recognizing that all things and circumstances come from God puts an exciting perspective on this earthly life. Right now, some of us with school aged children are trying to figure out what God’s plans are for their education in the midst of this pandemic.
Paul made plans to go across the sea to Macedonia and then on to Rome. He even sent Timothy and Erastus (some scholars say he was the chamberlain of Corinth from Romans 16:23, some say he is not) on to Macedonia to prepare for his arrival. However, for whatever reason, Paul stayed in Ephesus longer.
A riot started brewing as a man named Demetrius, who was a successful Diana shrine maker, decided to get his fellow idol maker friends to violently turn against Paul for ruining their businesses. They started shouting about the greatness of the goddess Diana and made the Ephesians panicked and crazy. Paul’s traveling companions Gaius and Aristarchus from Macedonia were captured and pulled into a theater while the other disciples restrained Paul from helping his friends and making matters worse with his presence (just imagine how hard that was for both the disciples in restraining Paul and for Paul in crying out to God to help his friends.) In the confusion, the Jews pushed Alexander to the front to try to make a speech to defend his people (scholars seem to agree that this is not the Alexander of II Timothy 4:14 who had done a lot of damage to Paul). This resulted in a two-hour yelling spree of Diana’s greatness.
The Lord used the townsclerk to calm the city. His reasoning with the people convinced them that no one knew how exactly Ephesus came to be the great city of Diana and that if Demetrius and company wanted to file a complaint, they should do it legally instead of creating a mob scene or else they would get in trouble with Rome. He then dismissed the crowd.
Wow! God is always creative and right on time in how He handles crisis for us when we trust Him. God protected Gaius and Aristarchus and used the disciples to protect Paul. Then there is the townsclerk, who God used to calm everyone down. Plans might be redirected, but God is always in control, especially when we are not. Are you willing to trust God? He alone knows our way.
Written by Kaye Dee Richards. Kaye Dee lives with her husband Colin in Morrison, CO. They have 4 children, Joshua, Amelia, Victoria, and Julia.
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