Date: Tuesday, August 20
Scripture: Acts 25:1-12
Verse: Now if I am in the wrong and have committed something for which I deserve to die, I am not trying to escape death; but if there is nothing to their charges against me, no one can turn me over to them. I appeal to the emperor.” (Acts 25:11)
Sometimes when people try to explain why bad things happen to good people, they will argue the bad things aren’t that bad, but are actually given to us by God to get us to change. I tend to think that is a misunderstanding. I think bad things are bad, and are the result of living in a fallen and sinful world. I think stuff like illness, fires, plane crashes, and other tragedies are outside the will of God. But I also believe God can use even the worst circumstances to bring about a greater good.
Paul’s appeal to the emperor in verse 11 sets in motion a series of events we will be reading about the rest of the week, Paul’s journey to Rome. In a vision Jesus had comforted Paul with this promise in Acts 23:11, “Keep up your courage! For just as you have testified for me in Jerusalem, so you must bear witness also in Rome.” Paul will be taken to Rome as a prisoner. The journey will be long and difficult. Many things will happen which will appear wrong, but in the end Paul ends up right where Jesus wants him, preaching in Rome. Is this how Jesus would have wanted it to happen? I don’t know. But either way, he wasn’t going to let the false accusations being charged against Paul thwart his will.
Many years ago I heard about the most expensive coffee in the world, and purportedly the best. It is called Kopi Luwak. What is unique about this coffee is that it’s beans are gathered out of the dung of a coffee berry loving cat called the Palm Civet. Out of the dung is picked the very best coffee beans. The gospel lesson here is that even out of the dung of life, God can bring about the very best. All we need is look to the cross for the greatest example.
Prayer: Keep me open, Lord Jesus, to your leading, even in the midst of the dung of life. Amen.
Action: Look for Jesus’ leading in your circumstances. Where is he present in your family, your work, your struggles, your successes, your joys, and your sorrows?
Respond: When has God led you through a bad circumstance to something good? Answer by clicking “Leave a Comment” below. If you are receiving this via email, click the title at the top of the email to take you to the devotion webpage where you can leave a comment.