Unstoppable! 'Astonishing Help!' — Acts 23:16-22

Thursday, November 4, 2021

But Paul's nephew — his sister's son — heard of [the group of men who made a vow to kill Paul with an ambush on his way to the ruling council] and went to the fortress and told Paul. Paul called for one of the Roman officers and said, "Take this young man to the commander. He has something important to tell him."

So the officer did, explaining, "Paul, the prisoner, called me over and asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you."

The commander took his hand, led him aside, and asked, "What is it you want to tell me?"

Paul's nephew told him, "Some Jews are going to ask you to bring Paul before the high council tomorrow, pretending they want to get some more information. But don't do it! There are more than forty men hiding along the way ready to ambush him. They have vowed not to eat or drink anything until they have killed him. They are ready now, just waiting for your consent."

"Don't let anyone know you told me this," the commander warned the young man.

— Acts 23:16-22 NLT

Key Thought

Many of us who live in reasonably orderly and free countries may miss that the way the soldiers, especially the commander, handled the news Paul's nephew brought about the ambush was really astonishing. For a young Jewish man, especially one of no known rank or influence, to be trusted by a Roman soldier was amazing. The young man received a private audience and gained immediate action to protect his uncle, Paul, a Roman prisoner (Acts 23:23-24). This set of providential circumstances should remind us that God was in control even though Paul was under arrest. The Lord would get Paul to Rome using Roman authority, power, and justice. The God of Joseph, Moses, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego was still active in similar ways in Paul's day.* The real question lies with you and me: Will we choose to believe that the Lord is still active in the workings of governments, justice, and people in power to protect faith today?

* Today's Related Scripture Readings will give you the opportunity to read a little about God' deliverance in these heroes lives.

Today's Prayer

O LORD, my "Abba" Father, I need your help. I believe you are still exerting your influence on the workings of our world. I am not always sure what you are doing and where you are leading us. Nevertheless, I do believe you continue to work today in our history to preserve your people and accomplish your mission of reaching the lost world. I confess, dear Father, that I'm concerned about the loss of core biblical values, the values that make us distinctive as believers and healthy as a culture. So, Father, please awaken us as your people. We want to live those values with respect, honor, integrity, and perseverance. We want to do so without being obnoxious or abrasive, but we also ask for the courage to use our influence in positive ways for your cause. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Daniel 6:4-37, 2:48-49, 3:8-30
  • Hebrews 11:21-28; Philippians 1:15-26

Comments

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Illustration

Illustration of Acts 23:16-22 NLT — But Paul's nephew — his sister's son — heard of [the group of men who made a vow to kill Paul with an ambush on his way to the ruling council] and went to the fortress and told Paul. Paul called for one of the Roman officers and said, "Take this young man to the commander. He has something important to tell him."

So the officer did, explaining, "Paul, the prisoner, called me over and asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you."

The commander took his hand, led him aside, and asked, "What is it you want to tell me?"

Paul's nephew told him, "Some Jews are going to ask you to bring Paul before the high council tomorrow, pretending they want to get some more information. But don't do it! There are more than forty men hiding along the way ready to ambush him. They have vowed not to eat or drink anything until they have killed him. They are ready now, just waiting for your consent."

"Don't let anyone know you told me this," the commander warned the young man.

About This Devotional

Unstoppable! is a one-year devotional guide through the book of Acts. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage, a reflection and a prayer. The reflection opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges one to live for Jesus.

Unstoppable! is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.