People Behaving Badly

Acts 19:23-41

Taking a look at the heavenly chess board, we have seen in the last few posts that God has launched a major offensive in the province of Asia, with Ephesus as the strategic central point of His operations. Up to this point, the Enemy was completely on the defensive, and in this text he attempts to slow God’s progress in Ephesus.

The instigator of the counter assault is a silversmith named Demetrius who riles up his fellow silversmiths by pointing out that the silver idols that are the basis of their very lucrative trade are in danger of becoming economically obsolete, as Paul’s message finds more and more acceptance among their potential customers.

The silversmiths and whoever else heard Demetrius responded with logic and high mental prowess, just as agitators always do: They shouted slogans. Their slogan, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians” struck a chord of tradition and civic pride among the people, and chaos resulted; before long the crowd became a mob of shouting people, few of whom had any real idea of why all of this was even happening, and they grabbed two of Paul’s travelling companions and dragged them into the theater.

Paul felt compelled to go there and address the crowd, but everyone urged him not to. In verse 31 we discover that Paul now had friends in high places, and they too sent him word to stay away.

Finally, before anything too drastic had taken place the city clerk managed to quiet the mob; he spoke to them in a reasonable way, pointing out that their business was safe, and then pointing out that the reputation of the city was hanging in the balance (civic pride again) and that if they had any actual charges to file against the two men they had taken, there were courts for that purpose. This appears to have broken the spell of insanity, and the mob, now once again a crowd, began to go home.

Like I mentioned last time, God was not messing around in Ephesus; the counter assault failed completely

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About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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5 Responses to People Behaving Badly

  1. gaustin00 says:

    Isn’t it so true that just as one voice can command an army; one voice can start a riot? When I read this portion of scripture I see what Jesus meant “the blind lead the blind and both fall into the ditch.” As we as Americans view the electorate via TV, social media etc. it seems that what goes around comes around…or as Solomon said, “there is nothing new under the sun.” People never change, they will follow blindly; quite a commentary on this race of humans of which we are a part isn’t it? No wonder Jesus sighed in his spirit and said: “you unbelieving generation, how much longer, must I be with you?” The only positive in this story is how Paul responded by listening and heeding the advice of those in higher up places and how God protected him. We can take a lesson from this and apply it to our own lives, stay away and do not mingle with those who are seeking to riot when you know darn well they haven’t a clue what they are rioting about! Be wise and discerning and be thankful when God protects us.

    Good blog Don! Food for thought.

    • Don Merritt says:

      Excellent thoughts; thank you. You remind me of a very famous quote, and although I don’t often quote Nazi criminals, Josef Goebbels really got this one right, and he should know, having been Hitler’s minister of propaganda. He said that “people will believe a lie more readily than the truth, and the bigger, the more readily they will believe it.”

      Scary thought.

  2. gaustin00 says:

    I should have remembered that one and yes it is scary. Could this be happening right under our noses today?

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