Chaos and Confusion
As you pray today, praise God for his power and might! Praise him for his goodness, faithfulness and love!
Read Acts 19:21-41
 After all this had happened, Paul decided to go to Jerusalem, passing through Macedonia and Achaia. “After I have been there,” he said, “I must visit Rome also.”  He sent two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia, while he stayed in the province of Asia a little longer.  About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way.  A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in a lot of business for the craftsmen there.  He called them together, along with the workers in related trades, and said: “You know, my friends, that we receive a good income from this business.  And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that gods made by human hands are no gods at all.  There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited; and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty.”  When they heard this, they were furious and began shouting: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”  Soon the whole city was in an uproar. The people seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia, and all of them rushed into the theater together.  Paul wanted to appear before the crowd, but the disciples would not let him.  Even some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul, sent him a message begging him not to venture into the theater.  The assembly was in confusion: Some were shouting one thing, some another. Most of the people did not even know why they were there.  The Jews in the crowd pushed Alexander to the front, and they shouted instructions to him. He motioned for silence in order to make a defense before the people.  But when they realized he was a Jew, they all shouted in unison for about two hours: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”  The city clerk quieted the crowd and said: “Fellow Ephesians, doesn’t all the world know that the city of Ephesus is the guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of her image, which fell from heaven?  Therefore, since these facts are undeniable, you ought to calm down and not do anything rash.  You have brought these men here, though they have neither robbed temples nor blasphemed our goddess.  If, then, Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen have a grievance against anybody, the courts are open and there are proconsuls. They can press charges.  If there is anything further you want to bring up, it must be settled in a legal assembly.  As it is, we are in danger of being charged with rioting because of what happened today. In that case we would not be able to account for this commotion, since there is no reason for it.”  After he had said this, he dismissed the assembly. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat was the motivation behind this great uproar?
Demetrius was a man with a cause, desperate to put an end to the growth of Christianity; after all, it was destroying his livelihood. So he set about sharing his vision with others. Of course he didn’t go around telling people he needed their support because he was losing his income. No, he was more clever than that. He played on the importance of their goddess, inciting people to rally to her defense. The Christian God, on the other hand, needs no defense. He is not intimidated by a crowd shouting the praises of an idol, nor does he need to raise up a crowd of his own to shout louder. He didn’t need Alexander (33) or even Paul to come and speak to the crowd. In this situation, God simply sent a bureaucrat to point out that the crowd was acting illegally. What promised to be a great show turned into a spectacular anti-climax. God could have sent fire or earthquake, but Artemis of the Ephesians was simply not worth that much attention. In his wisdom God works in many different ways. He always hears when we cry out for help in a tricky situation. Sometimes his answer will be spectacular, sometimes it won’t—but there will always be an answer.
Pray about situations you face or know of in which you or others desperately need God’s intervention.
Lord, keep me from thinking that everything depends on me. You are a mighty God who can uphold his own honor.
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