Text: Acts 16:16-24
For wisdom in discerning what spirit is at work in your life
To give glory to the Lord Jesus in all things
WHILE PAUL AND HIS COMPANY are moving through the city of Philippi, they are set upon by a woman possessed by a spirit (or demon) that gives her the power to see what is normally unseen. Such a power made lots of money for her owners.
Modern readers may struggle with this passage, as the woman speaks “truthfully” about Paul and his mission. But Paul is deeply distressed about what is happening; the word “annoyed” is not strong enough. I think that the reasons for Paul’s distress is that 1) the title “Most High God” could, in a Greek or pagan situation, refer to a very different god or pantheon of gods, and 2) there is an echo in this story of the exorcism of the Geresene demoniac as related in Mark and Luke, where the demon challenges Jesus with the title of “Son of the most high God.” Perhaps the spirit in the woman is trying to exercise power over Paul: “I see you, I know who you are, and I can damage what you are trying to do.” Paul casts out the spirit without any real effort, demonstrating that no power from the spirit world can thwart the work and will of Jesus for his servants.
In our own day, even as we buffer ourselves against such ideas as spirit-possession, we must nonetheless be on guard against those “spirits” of our age that misdirect, oppose or try to steal glory that belongs to Jesus Christ alone. Let us remember: Jesus is Lord, to the glory of the Father, and no other power can prevail over his good plans and purposes for us.
May your day be grace-filled ~ Pr. Dave Brooks