I praise You, Lord, that I can trust You. You will never leave me or forsake me (Deuteronomy 31:6).
Read Acts 9:19b–31
19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.
Saul in Damascus and Jerusalem
Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. 20 At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. 21 All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” 22 Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.
23 After many days had gone by, there was a conspiracy among the Jews to kill him, 24 but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him. 25 But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall.
26 When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. 28 So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 He talked and debated with the Hellenistic Jews,[a] but they tried to kill him. 30 When the believers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.
31 Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.
- Acts 9:29 That is, Jews who had adopted the Greek language and culture
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectThink back to a time when you were in a difficult situation. What difference did your faith make to how you felt?
Saul didn’t waste any time and began preaching immediately. This eventually riled the Jews in Damascus and he had to flee the city. When he got to Jerusalem, things were not much better. The Christians there were wary of his past reputation and refused to welcome him (26).
These troubles must have unsettled Saul and caused him to wonder what God was doing. However, he was not left to struggle on alone and that must have encouraged him greatly. God provided the support he needed to deal with each of the problems he faced: first, he received help from believers in Damascus who lowered him to safety from a window (25). Then, there was Barnabas who spoke up for Saul to the apostles, so the church in Jerusalem finally accepted him. Thirdly, there were Christians who helped him escape Jerusalem and got him to a safe place when his life was threatened again (30).
God doesn’t promise us a trouble-free life: Saul certainly didn’t have one! However, today’s reading encourages us that we can trust God to provide us with what we need to deal with any problems that come our way.
Reflect on any challenging situations you are currently facing. God truly is everything we need. Yet He also works through people. Is there a Christian friend who can walk with you through this difficulty?
I thank You, God, that You are with me and will provide me with what I need to cope.
Book and Author Intros
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.