When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: “Release those men.” The jailer told Paul, “The magistates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace. But Paul said to the officers: “They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out.” The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed. They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city. After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and encouraged them. Then they left. Acts 16:35-40
When I read this story, which we began with yesterday, I am so struck by the ending.
Number one, imagine if the guard had indeed killed himself when he thought Paul and Silas escaped. Completely unnecessary. Isn’t that just like the enemy? Right before the jailer and his whole family would be saved, and the next day God would work it out, so nobody was in trouble for anything that had occurred overnight, the enemy tries to get him to commit suicide. Never, ever give in to thoughts of suicide. This doesn’t mean the thoughts might not come, but if they do please realize, those thoughts are not YOUR thoughts, they are suggestions of the enemy trying to steal your life. I pray you are never fooled into thinking that we don’t have an enemy. Oh yes we do, and his work is pure evil against all of us. But take heart, because this story isn’t over!!
Number two, when they said Paul and Silas could go free, Paul said, not yet. Can you believe it?! So often when I read this I think, “Go!! Run away as fast as you can.” And then I realize that I have yet to walk in the full confidence of God. Paul and Silas were so set and confident in who they were in God that they were unafraid to demand recompense. They weren’t afraid to tell the magistrates what they had done wrong and demand to be escorted out. When God comes through in our lives, how often do we just walk away simply feeling grateful to have survived, when sometimes it’s an invitation to continue praying it through into recompense. If you’ve been standing against the enemy’s lies and obstructions and thievery, then you too can demand full recompense.
You better believe, I’ve already been praying for full recompense over this time we’ve been struggling with work and finances. God showed me and spoke to me clearly, that it was an attack of the enemy, so I know with full confidence that I am owed “back wages”.
Prayer Moment: Are you finding yourself in either of these scenarios right now? If so, ask God to give you the courage to not only stand and continue to fight, but to also restore with interest any and all things taken from you during this time. It’s time for us believers to become more confident in the things of God, and to discover more about what it means to be a co-heir of Christ. Are you ready?!
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23:5-6