Acts 18:9-18a: Assured and protected.
“9 One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: ‘Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. 10 For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.’ 11 So Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God. 12 While Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews of Corinth made a united attack on Paul and brought him to the place of judgment. 13 ‘This man,’ they charged, ‘is persuading the people to worship God in ways contrary to the law.’ 14 Just as Paul was about to speak, Gallio said to them, ‘If you Jews were making a complaint about some misdemeanour or serious crime, it would be reasonable for me to listen to you. 15 But since it involves questions about words and names and your own law – settle the matter yourselves. I will not be a judge of such things.’ 16 So he drove them off. 17 Then the crowd there turned on Sosthenes the synagogue leader and beat him in front of the proconsul; and Gallio showed no concern whatever. 18 Paul stayed on in Corinth for some time. Then he left the brothers and sisters and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. Before he sailed, he had his hair cut off at Cenchreae because of a vow he had taken.” NIV UK
God has His ways of preparing His people for things that lie ahead. He has the means to comfort and reassure them amidst difficulty. Some may think that what what happens in (12-17) is a contradiction of the promise made in (9,10). Not so. The Lord said to Paul ‘’no one is going to attack and harm you’’ (10). It’s important to take into consideration the ‘’and harm you.’’ Paul was attacked (12), but he was not harmed. Gallio was God’s instrument to protect Paul at this time. He wanted nothing to do with the case (15, 16). However, don’t fail to note the irony that Gallio was evidently a heartless sort (17b). How callous some people can be. Yet, in God’s Hands, this man was Paul’s friend.
‘…because of this major decision of Gallio, the Christians were able for the next twelve years to legally preach and spread the Gospel of Christ all over the Roman Empire. At the end of that time, however, a new emperor, Nero, outlawed the Christian religion and began to cruelly persecute believers throughout the Empire.’ Tom Hale: ‘The Applied New Testament Commentary’, p.490.
No doubt the longevity of Paul’s ministry in Corinth (18a) was linked to the promise of God (9, 10, 11). I can believe that the thought that the Lord had ‘’many people’’ (10) in Corinth was more precious to Paul even than the promise of protection. Learn to stand on God’s Word, and it (more importantly, He) will strengthen you to endure.
PRAYER: Thank you Lord that whatever people may say or do, I am in your hands. I am safe within your sovereignty. Help me please to feel my safety. I too need your tender reassurance.