Idols still exist. Yes, I know they exist in many cultures as part of worship, but in the Western Culture, we call them by different names. TV, Sports, Kids, Spouse, School...pick a person, activity, hobby, or object and, even within the church, it is someone's idols. In ministry, I often upset the idols. It's not because I'm meaning to try, it's because even Christians put things in front of God, or, at the very least, attempt to place them on the same level or just under. The reason we do things like this is we forget that Things, People, Hobbies, Activities or anything else only bring temporary satisfaction. Our spouses will leave us someday, hopefully only through death. Our Children will move on and create lives of their own, our bodies will break down, and we will be unable to physically do the things we love doing. Do you see where this is going? And it's upsetting when people get too close to one's idol. We get protective, because we don't realize the gods (emphasis on the lower case "g") in our lives control what we do. Whatever occupies our time, pocketbook, thoughts, and feelings either is an idol, or fast becoming one. It's unhealthy to be solely occupied on things or people as our chief source of satisfaction, and people will come after us, as they did to Paul and Silas, because their idols are at risk. Don't fear! God has a purpose even in that. As you will see in today's verses, even what Man intends for Harm, God uses to call others to repentance! It's not about being liked, it's about pleasing God and being obedient. If God is at the center of all things, you're GOING to get too close to someone else's idols, and likely face their wrath. Never fear, though, God is using even that for His glory. Stay focused on Him!
Acts 16:16-34 English Standard Version (ESV)
Paul and Silas in Prison
16 As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” 18 And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.
19 But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. 20 And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, “These men are Jews, and they are disturbing our city. 21 They advocate customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to accept or practice.” 22 The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. 23 And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. 24 Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.
The Philippian Jailer Converted
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26 and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were unfastened. 27 When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 And the jailer[a] called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. 34 Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.
Acts 16:29 Greek he