Acts 23:12-24: A mysterious providence.

12 The next morning some Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. 13 More than forty men were involved in this plot. 14 They went to the chief priests and the elders and said, “We have taken a solemn oath not to eat anything until we have killed Paul. 15 Now then, you and the Sanhedrin petition the commander to bring him before you on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about his case. We are ready to kill him before he gets here.” 16 But when the son of Paul’s sister heard of this plot, he went into the barracks and told Paul. 17 Then Paul called one of the centurions and said, “Take this young man to the commander; he has something to tell him.” 18 So he took him to the commander. The centurion said, “Paul, the prisoner, sent for me and asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you.” 19 The commander took the young man by the hand, drew him aside and asked, “What is it you want to tell me?”20 He said: “Some Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul before the Sanhedrin tomorrow on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about him. 21 Don’t give in to them, because more than forty of them are waiting in ambush for him. They have taken an oath not to eat or drink until they have killed him. They are ready now, waiting for your consent to their request.” 22 The commander dismissed the young man with this warning: “Don’t tell anyone that you have reported this to me”
23 Then he called two of his centurions and ordered them, “Get ready a detachment of two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen[b] to go to Caesarea at nine tonight. 24 Provide horses for Paul so that he may be taken safely to Governor Felix.”NIV UK

‘The Lord had told his servant that he was needed in Rome, but the conspirators said that he should not leave Jerusalem. There is only one conclusion where such a collision occurs – God’s Word must stand, to the discomfort of those who have sworn that they will neither eat nor drink till they have perpetrated their plan to the contrary.’ F.B. Meyer: ‘Devotional Commentary’, p.498.  It is interesting to find that Paul had family in Jerusalem. How typical of the ways of God that the plot should be defeated through the intervention of an obscure young man. We are not told how he heard about it, only that he did. It reminds me of the key part a boy played in the miracle of the feeding of the multitude. In both cases, we don’t know their names, but they played vital roles.

‘’But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him’’ 1 Corinthians 1:27-29.

When I was in my first church in Southport I had the privilege of visiting a lady called Miss Rose. She was well into her nineties by then, but she had exercised a significant Bible teaching ministry among women. I’ll never forget her saying to me, ‘I’m one of God’s ‘’are nots.’’ ‘ She explained, ‘It says in the Bible that He takes the things that are not to nullify the things that are.’

PRAYER: Thank you Lord that whenever you want a job doing you can always put your hand on the right person to do it, and regularly you find them in obscurity.