Around midnight, Sha’ul and Sila were praying and singing hymns to God, while the other prisoners listened attentively. Suddenly there was a violent earthquake which shook the prison to its foundations. All the doors flew open and everyone’s chains came loose. The jailer awoke, and when he saw the doors open he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, for he assumed that the prisoners had escaped. But Sha’ul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We’re all here!”Calling for lights, the jailer ran in, began to tremble and fell down in front of Sha’ul and Sila. Then, leading them outside, he said, “Men, what must I do to be saved?” They said, “Trust in the Lord Yeshua, and you will be saved–you and your household!” Whereupon they told him and everyone in his household the message about the Lord. Then, even at that late hour of the night, the jailer took them and washed off their wounds; and without delay, he and all his people were immersed. After that, he brought them up to his house and set food in front of them; and he and his entire household celebrated their having come to trust in God. Acts 16:25-34 CJB
Over and over, we have heard about the story of Paul and Silas as we know them according to the KJV. Some of us have read, while others heard, about how after they were innocently flogged and thrown in prison they sang praises to God. While singing, at the midnight hour, an earthquake shakes the prison’s foundations and all the doors were opened.
The focus whenever we hear of this story is that if we continue in praise and worship despite persecution and dark times the chains of bondage will be broken, we will be set free and people will be saved. However, what I want us to examine is what comes after … after they were beaten and locked up … after the chains broke and the doors opened … even after the jailer asked “What must I do to be saved?”
After the chains broke and the doors opened, they could have escaped but they didn’t. Instead they remained in position. Sometimes we are too quick to move. We need to understand that not every open door is our door of deliverance. Had they moved out of position, they would have stepped out of the right, into the wrong and became fugitives. Had they moved and exited the cell and/or the jail, the jailer would have died and his entire household would have been mourning his death as well as lost an opportunity for salvation. It can be quite tempting to grab at any and every opportunity that presents itself to us; especially when times are tough and we are desperate. However, moving too fast can be detrimental to us and others as well.
Sometimes we are too quick to move. Discernment to know when to move or stay is crucial.
No wound, cut or bruise heals overnight or immediately. Sha’ul and Sila were badly beaten, thrown into jail and, without a doubt, were in pain. Yet, they ministered the word of the LORD, baptized an ENTIRE household and celebrated their deliverance. Many times we experience hurt, pain, disappointment, discouragement, unfair treatment, etc. Having to minister to and celebrate others while going through times like these can be tough. However we must understand that YHVH can use this time not only to help others and for His glory; but also through this difficult medium we can have breakthroughs and blessings. This allows us to see beyond what we are going through presently and allows God to be glorified even in our difficult moments.
The most amazing part, about this story, for me is that after all was said and done, THEY WENT BACK INTO PRISON. The first time, they were placed in jail without consent. The second time around, however, they walked freely back into jail … back into the place of bondage. They went right back to await the appointed time for their deliverance, which came not too long after. Who leaves the place of bondage to help and celebrate someone’s deliverance then consciously walks back into that position? It takes the discernment of and sensitivity to the guidance and direction of Holy Spirit to know how, when and where to go and what to do.
The key is being positioned in and aligned with the will of YHVH.
Once their assignment was accomplished, the LORD delivered them. They were not only released but escorted out of prison, and requested to leave the vicinity. As we realign our lives, let us look at our circumstances through the lens of YHVH’s purpose and position ourselves in His perfect plan. Ponder on this, can He trust you with trouble that will showcase His love for another?
– Trusted of YHVH