The Daily Fountain Daily Devotional of the Church Of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) 15 August 2020 – I Am With You Always
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TOPIC: I Am With You Always
Read: ACTS 23:1-11 (NKJV)
- Then Paul, looking earnestly at the council, said, “Men [and] brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.”
- And the high priest Ananias commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth.
- Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, [you] whitewashed wall! For you sit to judge me according to the law, and do you command me to be struck contrary to the law?”
- And those who stood by said, “Do you revile God’s high priest?”
- Then Paul said, “I did not know, brethren, that he was the high priest; for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’ “
- But when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Men [and] brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee; concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged!”
- And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees; and the assembly was divided.
- For Sadducees say that there is no resurrection — and no angel or spirit; but the Pharisees confess both.
- Then there arose a loud outcry. And the scribes of the Pharisees’ party arose and protested, saying, “We find no evil in this man; but if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him, let us not fight against God.”
- Now when there arose a great dissension, the commander, fearing lest Paul might be pulled to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him by force from among them, and bring [him] into the barracks.
- But the following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.”
Nothing can be compared with the presence of God in a believer’s life; His presence is soothing, comforting and reassuring. This is the reason Moses announced to the Lord “…if your presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here” (Exodus 33:15). Jesus knew this and left these parting words with His disciples “…and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
Our passage reveals the unpleasant situation Paul found himself. While the commander made efforts to settle the problem between Paul and the Jews on matters bothering essentially on their religion, he invited the Chief Priest and all their Council (the Pharisees and the Sadducees) and placed Paul among them. With great wisdom, Paul exploited the difference in the belief systems of the Pharisees and the Sadducees during his presentation. This led to a great dissension between the two sects such that Paul was almost torn in two (verse 10). Alas, in that terrible situation, the Lord spoke to Paul by night – “Be of good cheer, Paul…” (verse 11). What a comforting statement from the King of the Universe to a troubled soul! Beloved, are you also going through hard times at home, office or marriage because of your faith in Christ Jesus? Be of good cheer, the Lord is with you. He has promised He will never fail. Certainly there will be light at the end of the tunnel (Isaiah 43:2).
PRAYER: Lord God, do not let Your presence depart from me. Amen.