devotion 7-16-15

Good Morning!

Acts 13:4-12

4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia; and from there they sailed to Cyprus. 5When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John also to assist them. 6When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they met a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet, named Bar-Jesus. 7He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and wanted to hear the word of God. 8But the magician Elymas (for that is the translation of his name) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 9But Saul, also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10and said, ‘You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? 11And now listen—the hand of the Lord is against you, and you will be blind for a while, unable to see the sun.’ Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he went about groping for someone to lead him by the hand. 12When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was astonished at the teaching about the Lord.

And so, Barnabas and Saul set out from Syrian Antioch, going down the coast to Seleucia, where they sail to the island of Cyprus. Landing at Salamis, they proclaim the word of God in the synagogues throughout the island, ending at Paphos, at the opposite end of Cyprus. There they are summoned by the proconsul – the man in charge of governing the island, Sergius Paulus. He wanted to hear the word of God. But with him there is a false prophet by the name of Bar-Jesus, or Elymas, who debated what they were saying, trying to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But the Holy Spirit intervenes, and Saul, or Paul, is inspired to speak prophecy to the false prophet. He is called many names, including an enemy of the faith, and he is made blind for a time. And when the proconsul saw this, he believed, and was astonished at their teaching about the Lord.

Here, we find Luke uses the name Paul for Saul. As Barnabas and Saul travel through the Greek world, Saul uses his Roman name, Paul, and more and more Luke refers to him as Paul. (The area governed by Rome had at one time been governed by Greece and the Roman empire adopted Greek culture, simply renaming the gods and goddesses; over time the Greek language would become Latin, but in the first century the common language was classical Greek.)

Note this – Saul, or Paul, does not decide to speak against the false prophet; it is not that he is angry at this man; he does not make the decision to punish the man. He simply opens his mouth and allows the Spirit to speak. We must be very cautious, when we attempt to act as prophets, that it is God’s word and not our own that comes from our mouths. Prophets who seek to prophecy for their own aggrandizement (as Elymas apparently did) or from their own will rather than God’s, are in danger of making a grave mistake. There are many of those around today! Jesus warned against listening to the false prophets!

a map is attached –

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