Today’s reading: Psalm 19-21; Acts 19:21-41
13 Be exalted, O Lord, in your strength! We will sing and praise your power. Psalm 21:13
“Men, you know that from this business we have our wealth. 26 And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods. 27 And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be counted as nothing, and that she may even be deposed from her magnificence, she whom all Asia and the world worship.” Acts 19:25b-27
The God who made heaven and earth, who rules over all things, and who revealed Himself through His Creation and His Word, is above all the false gods of men. There is no place for both the true God and some idol in the hearts of believers. The gospel and popular culture are on a collision course.
The Psalmist praises God for all He is and has done. He thanks Him for His mercy, grace, and goodness to His people. He prays for God to be exalted. He commits to sing and praise God’s power. He desires that God be pleased with his thoughts and words (Psalm 19:14).
Paul’s ministry in Ephesus threatened the lucrative business of the silversmiths and others who profited by the worship of Artemis. One of the tradesmen, Demetrius, called a meeting to warn the community of the danger that would come to them should Paul succeed in diminishing the worship of this false goddess. Chaos ensued. The crowd got worked up into a frenzy until the town clerk quieted them.
Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father, except through me.” (John 14:6b). The gospel may not imposed by force on unbelievers, but it is proclaimed and, when hearers believe, the unbelieving culture is threatened. There can be no benign multicultural coexistence because disciples of Jesus are called to tell the good news of life in His name. They will teach, preach, explain, reason, debate, prove, and live in faith before the watching world. They can be silenced by force, but they will not shrink back in fear and shut up.
Are you prepared for the impact of the gospel on a culture which is increasingly hostile to the exclusivity of the message? Be prepared, knowing that it is enough if God be pleased with the words of your mouth and the meditation of your heart.