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The Scriptorium

Like He Says

Always. Acts 24.1-9

The Trials of Paul (8)

Pray Psalm 62.1, 2.
Truly my soul silently waits for God;
From Him comes my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be greatly moved.

Sing Psalm 62.1, 2.
(Germany: Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness)
My soul in silence waits, O Lord – safely I stand within Your Word!
You are my Rock, my Stronghold true, and my Salvation, Lord, are You!

Read and meditate on Acts 24.1-9.

Preparation
1. What did Tertullus say about Paul?

2. What did he want Felix to do?

Meditation

The Jewish leaders engaged a Roman lawyer to plead their case. They had five days to prepare – five days! (v. 1) And this is their case? Innuendo? Ad hominem? Hearsay?

Tertullus tried to flatter the governor (vv. 2, 3), hoping for a quick judgment and an easy paycheck. He made three charges against Paul (vv. 5, 6), none of which were true. The Jews chimed in with “Like he says!” (v. 9). Tertullus invited the governor to “examine” Paul, but I don’t think he really expected him to do so (v. 8). He misjudged Felix, for that is exactly what the governor did, as we shall see. Rome persecuted Christians (“Nazarenes”, v. 5), but Roman law had to be followed where Roman citizens were concerned.

Felix intended to offer Paul a fair hearing and all the protection of Roman law. We can see the common grace of God at work here, restraining by civil statute and authority the evil intentions of wicked men. The enemies of the Gospel will always find that they can only act as God permits. They are at all times constrained by His Word and purposes. “Like He says.”

This little flourish by Tertullus – big city lawyer trying to impress regional governor – did not accomplish the desired effect. But it set the stage for Paul’s testimony. Paul was alert to what was going on around him, and always looking for the best way to make others’ words and deeds work for Christ and the Gospel. He was preparing his witness just by remaining silent and letting others speak. The more they talked, the further out on the limb they scooted. Soon, Paul would hand them the saw of their own words (vv. 12, 13).

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
“Give us help from trouble, for the help of man is useless.
Through God we will do valiantly, for it is He who shall
tread down our enemies” (Ps. 60.11, 12; 108. 12, 13).

The help of man, whether he be a lawyer, or a banker, or a political leader, or a religious leader…you name it;
whatever this person’s perceived place of power or credibility, it still renders them useless to relieve us of our troubles. Only God can tread down our enemies and do valiantly for us.

David knew this. Jesus knew this. Paul knew this. And we know this, too.

But do we really believe it?

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and
lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge Him, and
He shall direct your paths” (Prov. 3.5, 6).

“Be still, and know that I AM GOD;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!” (Ps. 46.10)

“Though the fig tree may not blossom,
nor the fruit be on the vines;
though the labor of the olive may fail, and
the fields yield no food;
though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and
there be no herd in the stalls –
yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will joy in the God of my salvation” (Hab. 3.17, 18).

“Why do you seek the living among the dead?
He is not here, but is risen!” (Lk. 24.5, 6)

“…just as He said” (Matt. 28.6 NIV).

“Your Word is truth” (Jn. 17.17).

And in that truth we rest and find security and peace.

For reflection

1. How would you explain to a new believer what it means to rest in the truth of God’s Word?

2. Why should it not surprise us when unbelievers say false things about us or about what we believe?

3. Today, you might need to help a troubled friend rest in the truth of God’s Word. How will you do that?

There were three basic charges against Paul: political treason, religious heresy, and temple desecration. His opponents argued that Paul had been causing riots throughout the empire, that he spoke against the Law of Moses, and that he had brought a Gentile into the Jewish temple courts. Earl Radmacher (1931-2014), NKJV Study Bible Note on Acts 24.5

Pray Psalm 62.5-12.
Wait on the Lord in silence as you think through the day ahead. Where will you especially need Him to guide, keep, or empower you? How do you need to grow in your salvation? Where do you need more power to work your Personal Mission Field?

Sing Psalm 62.5-12.
(Germany: Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness)
My soul in silence waits, O Lord, hoping in You, and in Your Word.
You are my Rock, my Stronghold true, and my Salvation, Lord, are You!

On You my hope and glory rest, Rock of my strength, and Refuge best.
Trust always in our God, the Lord; take refuge only in His Word.

Trust not in men of low degree; lighter are they than breath shall be.
Do not rely on strength or gold; trust in the Lord, Who rules from old.

Once God has spoken, twice I have heard: Power belongs alone to the Lord!
And lovingkindness, Lord, is Yours; You recompense us for our works.

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website, www.ailbe.org, and clicking theScriptorium tab for last Sunday. You can download any or all the studies in this series on Acts by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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