PO Box 690
Huntsville, TX 77342
The story of Paul and Silas in prison at midnight (from Acts 16) holds some powerful, but often overlooked lessons.
A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. So, the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks.
Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. But Paul shouted to him, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!”
The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
I think the earthquake moment so grabs us that we miss a couple of things. First, take notice of how bad their circumstances were—severely beaten, inner dungeon, painful stocks. Second, their response? PRAISE! We don’t read of them asking for rescue or focusing on their PLIGHT. They were focusing on their GOD…and that appears to have generated quite a response that changed their circumstances. Could you stand for things to be shaken up a bit in your life? Praise His name, and may His power be revealed in marvelous ways. From the song “Praise the Lord,” a portion of the chorus:
For the chains that seem to bind you
Serve only to remind you
That they drop powerless behind you
When you praise Him.