The Lord will have the word of the gospel delivered to those who wish to hear it. All obstacles to the preaching of the word will be removed.
Sometimes this is more dramatic than at other times as this short section of scripture testifies to. But regardless of how it is done, the will of God will prevail and His word shall be proclaimed.
Let’s look at this short section which describes one of the more dramatic moves of The Lord to ensure those to whom the word would come received the gospel. In this case Paul and Barnabas had gone down to the island of Paphos and had been proclaiming the word. They then met up with the proconsul Sergius Paulus who was the governor of the region.
Preaching the Word
After Paul and Barnabas had been sent on their way from the church in Antioch, having been instructed by the Holy Spirit to preach to the Gentiles, they came down to Paphos. Initially they had been preaching only in the synagogues of the Jews, but when they came to Paphos the word was spreading among the Gentiles which is how it came to the ears of the proconsul.
The proconsul is described as a man of intelligence, clearly not someone who would have the wool easily pulled over his eyes. However it is evident that even the most astute of people is able to be tricked and bewitched by the devil if they have not come to The Lord and are being protected by Him.
There was a man named Elymas who was a close advisor of the proconsul. This man Elymas was a magician and was also a Jewish false prophet. It is evident that he held some sway over the proconsul for he was with the proconsul.
It should be pointed out here that being a magician did not suggest he was a person who did tricks or performed illusions as many magicians do today. This man was using evil spiritual powers to control situations and events and to mystify and astound the people so that they would listen to him.
Now when Elymas saw and heard the preaching of Paul and Barnabas, he opposed them. He stood in direct opposition to the preaching of Paul and Barnabas in an attempt to continue to hold sway over the proconsul for his own ends. He could see that the word being preached by Paul and Barnabas was going to destroy his power base and the reliance of the proconsul on him for advice.
No Stopping the Word
But the Holy Spirit in Paul recognised the satanic nature and work of this magician Elymas. Thus when Paul had had enough of Elymas trying to distort, falsify and sway the proconsul away from the truth of the faith, Paul said to Elymas the following.
9 But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him r10 and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? 11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.” Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand.
There is no stopping the word of The Lord getting through to those he wants it preached to. Elymas was struck blind and had to seek others to lead him by the hand. His mind was darkened by the satanic work he was doing in trying to oppose the gospel and turn away the proconsul, and as punishment he was blinded so that he could not see. Rather an appropriate approach to one who was blinding the minds and spirits of others.
And in the end we see that after he was struck blind, the proconsul believed and was astonished at the teachings of The Lord. The Lord saw fit to ensure that the word of the truth got through to one who was looking for the truth.
Now the same will happen today. When a person is seeking the truth of the gospel, Jesus Christ will ensure they hear it. If a person only shows the smallest spark of interest in knowing the truth, Jesus will ensure they get what they want and need to know. As he has said in John 12:26, “…where I am, there will my servant be also.”
One of the best promises relating to this can be seen in the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32. Verse 20 in particular speaks to this matter. It says,
And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.
The prodigal son represents all of us who have gone astray wasting our time and our life in the pursuit of the things of this world until we find we are at rock bottom and in need of a saviour. When we turn and return to The Lord and come back to him, He does not reject us. The father in this parable represent our Heavenly Father, and like the prodigal’s father, God too sees us show an interest from far, far away and He too runs to greet us and provide for our needs.
This is the love of the Father for each of us. It is not the desire of The Lord for any person to be lost and it is His hope that all will come to the knowledge of salvation through Jesus Christ. An deign his great desire for us to come to Him, you can be certain there is and will be no stopping the word coming to His people who seek Him out.
(Picture sourced from stock.xchng provided by Elvis Santana from http://elvissantana.com/home.html)
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