Acts 25:1-22 God’s Use of Unlikely Circumstances to Accomplish His Purposes

I wonder if it ever occurs to you…if you’re ever tempted to think that God’s providence is inefficient; that somehow or another what has occurred here to the Apostle Paul can’t surely be “Plan A.” It must surely be “Plan B” or “Plan C” that the most gifted apostle, the most erudite preacher, a man who was tried and proved and tested as a church planter in needy times was kept in prison still waiting an arrest for two long years under the edicts of Governor Felix, until Governor Festus arrives. Surely, surely Paul could have been sent to the north coast of Africa, where in the coming century the church would grow and proliferate. Surely God could have sent him east to conquer the land that we now know has been conquered by other world religions. I wonder…In your life are you ever tempted to think that God’s providential governance of the world and of my affairs is terribly inefficient?

“God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm.”

Do you think Paul was tempted in prison? Do you think he was even tempted for a second or two to say to himself, “Lord, You know, if I was in charge, I think I could bring about a better scenario than this. This seems so terribly inefficient.” We know, as Paul has been reminding us and will continue to remind us in the second and third and fourth chapters of Philippians, that the church in Philippi were frustrated by it. Why would Paul, the greatest apostle then alive, why would God have Paul locked up in prison for years and years and years, and not be out there doing something useful?

But this was his usefulness. This was his usefulness.

I have a notion that at least a part of what God was doing in the life of the Apostle Paul at this moment in his life, frustrated as he must have been by God’s providence, was that God was humbling him.

It’s not without a degree of remarkableness that in this letter of Paul to the Philippians the second chapter is dominated by the idea of humbling oneself, of God humbling us.

And that’s where I want to leave it, because you may find yourself in very different circumstances to the Apostle Paul, but equally frustrating. You are not where you want to be. This is not the desire that you had when you were fifteen. This is not the circumstance that you said on the day that you got married, “This is where I want to be 15, 20, 25, 30 years from now.” And God is humbling you. And the great question that the life of the Apostle Paul demands of us is are we willing to bow beneath that yoke of Christ? Are we willing to bow and acknowledge — what it is that we heard earlier? — He is faithful. He is faithful.

Derek Thomas

Heart Preparation
Read Acts 25:1-22. Notice the intentionality of Paul to proclaim the gospel despite his challenging situation. What unlikely circumstances in your life can you be trusting God to use you to proclaim his gospel?

Posted on: May 29, 2014 - 10:00PM

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