Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Things went badly... (Acts 19:21-41, Matt. 21:21-22, Exodus 20:3-4)

This is Mt. Rainier in Washington State
"Never underestimate the power of prayer"
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

21 When these things were accomplished, Paul purposed in the Spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.” 22 So he sent into Macedonia two of those who ministered to him, Timothy and Erastus, but he himself stayed in Asia for a time.
Paul liked to travel and share the good news about Jesus wherever he went.  I would think he needed some time to recuperate read the scriptures and worship the Lord.  They didn't have cars, planes or trains back then.  It was all on donkeys or walking.

23 And about that time there arose a great commotion about the Way. 24 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Diana, brought no small profit to the craftsmen. 25 He called them together with the workers of similar occupation, and said:“Men, you know that we have our prosperity by this trade. 26 Moreover you see and hear that not only at Ephesus, but throughout almost all Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away many people, saying that they are not gods which are made with hands. 27 So not only is this trade of ours in danger of falling into disrepute, but also the temple of the great goddess Diana may be despised and her magnificence destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worship.”
There was a lot of idol worship in these times.  Diana was supposed to be the goddess of the hunt and wild animals.  She would've been what people would pray to for food and also taming and talking to animals.  People in this time period made idols of her hoping she would bring good luck.  "The Way" was the name early Christians used to describe themselves. Truthfully though, it was all about the money.  In these verses they aren't as concerned about worshiping idols as they are losing their income.

28 Now when they heard this, they were full of wrath and cried out, saying, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!” 

29 So.the whole city was filled with confusion, and rushed into the theater with one accord, having seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians, Paul's travel companions. 30 And when Paul wanted to go in to the people, the disciples would not allow him. 31 Then some of the officials of Asia, who were his friends, sent to him pleading that he would not venture into the theater. 32 Some therefore cried one thing and some another, for the assembly was confused, and most of them did not know why they had come together. 33 And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander motioned with his hand, and wanted to make his defense to the people. 34 But when they found out that he was a Jew, all with one voice cried out for about two hours, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!”
In all the chaos, in verse 32 everyone was confused as to what was going on.  They actually didn't even know why they were there.  It was a crowd mentality, people felt they should add their opinions.

This reminded me of when I was working in computer programming.  My job was to document the interface between two systems at Boeing.  The only problem was, the guys refused to cooperate.  So, I decided I'd wear a bicycle helmet to work.  When I got to the meeting everyone was smiling...  ok maybe the bicycle helmet helped... they all laughed.  My boss was nervous because it was a very important system.  No problem though. Everyone cooperated with each other.  When we finished I went back upstairs and my boss, "Van Cleland,"  was pacing.   So I told him it went fine.  The girl that sat next to me asked loudly, "Karen did you pray?"

So I told her, "I sure did!!!"  My boss smiled and said, "Whatever works."  

35 And when the city clerk had quieted the crowd, he said: “Men of Ephesus, what man is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is temple guardian of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Zeus? 36 Therefore, since these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rashly. 37 For you have brought these men here who are neither robbers of temples nor blasphemers of your goddess. 38 Therefore, if Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen have a case against anyone, the courts are open and there are proconsuls. Let them bring charges against one another. 
Don't you just love when a voice of reason stands up and brings peace in a bad situation?  This is a good lesson for all of us I think.  The first two commandments of the 10 Commandments are, 

"1 You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image." Exodus 20:3-4.

So Paul was absolutely right in saying  to these people that they shouldn't worship idols.  They should worship the living, real God.  Sometimes people hear the truth and they just don't want to believe at the moment.  In this case the people didn't want to lose their income.  It doesn't mean there's no hope for them.  It means God will work in their hearts.
39 But if you have any other inquiry to make, it shall be determined in the lawful assembly. 40 For we are in danger of being called in question for today's uproar, there being no reason which we may give to account for this disorderly gathering.” 41 And when he had said these things, he dismissed the assembly.
(Acts 19:21-41 NKJV)

This song is from Dan Bremmes,  "Our God (link)"

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