November 18, 2021
Daily Reading: Acts 14-15
They were ware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and unto the region that lieth round about:
Boldness is easy when no real threat is present, but let the imminent presence of physical harm or death be real, then see what boldness remains. A famous boxer named Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” Take it from one who has been punched, things happen to your mind, spirit, and body that you do not expect; everything both speeds up and slows down at the same time. At least for me.
In Iconium, Paul and Barnabas were having a great result in preaching the Gospel in the synagogue of the Jews. The Bible says that…a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed. (Acts 14:1) Then trouble came. Just as in the chapter before (13) Elymas the sorcerer withstood these two evangelists in attempts to turn Sergius Paulus (the deputy of the country) away from the faith of Jesus Christ. There is always an Elymas trying to keep people from Christ, always!
In chapter 14, in the spirit of Elymas, the unbelieving stirred up the Gentiles making their minds …evil affected against the brethren… as the enemy of God’s agents are always trying to do. The unbelievers then formulated a plan to …use them despitefully, and to stone them. So, they fled. Yes, they learned about the threat and fled away from Iconium.
Do you wonder if that was their plan; to run away? Probably not, but in the midst of the reality of physical harm and ultimate death, they fled.
You know, there are some today that speak so boldly of their plans to do this or do that in the face of danger. There are those who deride other believers that take a “safe” approach, see the trouble in the distance and somehow obfuscate the issue. These are described in Proverbs 22:3 and 27:12. A prudent man forseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.
Think about it, several times the New Testament tells us of God’s servants fleeing for their lives. On at least one occasion Jesus hid himself (John 8:59). Christians through the ages have fled persecution. Is this generation so superior spiritually to our forefathers that we are bolder in the face of death than they? Doubtful. Those in the church of Jerusalem fled, entire groups of believers have fled one nation or continent for another, all in an effort to find religious freedom.
But today, where do we flee from the persecution that the Word of God warns about? Perhaps this is the reason for the “catching away” as taught in I Thessalonians and I Corinthians. There is nowhere else on earth to run, so the Lord transports His people to Heaven. That is my only plan. As the second to last verse of the Bible says, it is my only hope and plan…Even so, come, Lord Jesus. Until then, we will see what boldness lies within.
Until tomorrow, live for Christ today.