22 “A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. 23 They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. 24 So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks. 25 Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. 26 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 Apostles Paul and Silas were beaten with rods, and then they were put in stocks in the inner dungeon, why? For faithfully serving God! Yet instead of moaning and complaining about the circumstances they were praising God. It’s easy to turn to God in the good circumstances but where do you turn in the bad? At this point many of us turn away from God but they turned to God and He was right there with them. He was there all along and He let everyone know it: “suddenly there was a great earthquake; the prison was shaken to its foundations, all the doors flew open and the chains of every prisoner fell off “. When we go through adversity many of us think God has abandoned us, left us in the prison alone, but we are not alone He is right there. In your circumstances do you realize you are not alone, that God is with you? Do you see those around you that are in prison that need to be freed ,those who need to experience the power of God in their lives, the power to shake their foundation, to blow their doors off their hinges and lose their chains. Are you only interested in God coming to your rescue or are you interested in a greater rescue mission bigger than you?
Often God uses our circumstances to teach us, but the question we need to ask is: Are we learning the lessons? Paul and Silas had already learned their lessons and now we see them applying what they had learned to their circumstances. It’s not learned until it’s applied! What they learned:
- Regardless of the circumstances you can give God praise.
Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Notice He did not say for everything give thanks, but in everything give thanks. Are you ready in whatever circumstance you are in to give God all the praise and glory? Psalms 119:62 “I rise at midnight to thank you for your just regulations.” Are you ready do praise even in the middle of the night?
- Are you prepared?
“Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God” Midnight is a milestone so to speak. The night is half over and with each minute we get closer to the dawn. The question we face is; can we make it until day break? The answer depends on what we do at midnight, what decision we make, and did we prepare while it was yet day? What will you do at midnight? Midnight is mentioned many times in the bible and it has a lot to do with being prepared.
“29 And that night at midnight, the Lord struck down all the firstborn sons in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sat on his throne, to the firstborn son of the prisoner in the dungeon.”
At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from firstborn of Pharaoh to the firstborn of the one in the dungeon. Only the ones who had applied the blood of the Passover lamb were spared. It’s not about position but preparedness.
The 25th chapter of Matthew talks of ten virgins that took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five were wise and five were foolish. The foolish took no oil with their lamps. The wise took oil in their vessels for their lamps, they were prepared their vessels were filled.
6 “At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’ 7 “All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. 8 Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.”
Notice when the cry came, at midnight, and the foolish found their lamps gone out, they also found that they could not make it in on the other five’s oil. Is your lamp filled are you prepared for midnight? Just like those in Egypt when the Lord came and who were not prepared with the blood covering and died, so Christ is coming again and there will be those who are not ready who will be shut out!
Many of us don’t get alone with God and get filled up so in the midst of our trial, we find our lamp going out. Let me ask you, When the midnight cry comes has the blood been applied, has the Spirit been received, has the praise been offered? What will you do at midnight? What you do at midnight depends a great deal on what you do now. How we come out of a trial often depends on how we went in to it. Paul told Timothy to be a good soldier. Soldiers prepare for battle in time of peace, they practice they are prepared. Will you turn to God or will you turn on God? Is it time to get alone with God?