March 5, 2015
READ: Acts 16:16-40
He and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God (v.34).
Nine year old Willie might have saved his life simply by singing a song of praise. The boy was kidnapped from his driveway by a stranger. But the kidnapper then dropped him off unharmed after driving around for hours. Willie says he continued to sing the song “Every Praise” by Hezekiah Walker until the kidnapper grew tired of cursing and telling him to shut up.
Paul and Silas had a somewhat similar experience. Accused of trying to evangelise the Romans (Acts 16:21), they were severely beaten and thrown into prison. The jailer locked them in the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in stocks to prevent their escape (vv.22-24).
At midnight, Paul and Silas prayed and sang hymns to God. Suddenly, a massive earthquake caused all the prison doors to open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off. But amazingly, not one prisoner left! (vv.25-28).
The jailer was terrified, for he knew that he would be executed if any of the prisoners escaped. Undoubtedly, he was impressed by their faith in God, their composure and the unabated joy that Paul and Silas showed even when they had been unjustly treated and illegally punished (vv.37-39). Most of all, the jailer was touched by their concern for him, for they hadn’t tried to escape when they had the opportunity. Wanting to know more about their faith, he asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (v.30).
Miraculously freed, Paul and Silas saw their freedom not as a means of escape, but as an opportunity to witness (vv.31-32). “[The jailer] and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God” (v.34). They certainly could sing with young Willie, “Every praise, every praise is to our God. Sing hallelujah to our God.”
365-day plan: Joshua 23:1-16
Read Acts 5:26-42 to see why the apostles were “rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus” (v.41).
Consider your life circumstances: is there an opportunity for you to tell others about Jesus? Is there a reason why you can’t rejoice in Him?