The Cost Of Freedom (6/25/13)

Read: 2Kings 8:1-9:13, Acts 16:16-40, Psalm 143:1-12, Proverbs 17:26

This went on day after day until Paul got so exasperated that he turned and said to the demon within her, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And instantly it left her. Her masters’ hopes of wealth were now shattered, so they grabbed Paul and Silas and dragged them before the authorities at the marketplace. (Acts 16:18-19)

slave
This picture taken from this post on trafficking

Relate: For verse 6, the NLT translation says demon possessed. The NIV says “a spirit by which she predicted the future” and the KJV says, “possessed with a spirit of divination”. A more literal translation would be “spirit of python” understanding that the python was the snake worshiped by and symbolizing the oracles of Delphi. They were in Greece now. Delphi was on the far side of the Aegean Sea from where they landed and that was probably these businessmen were allowed to keep her. Had they lived in Corinth or Athens, she would most likely have ended up living right there at Delphi.

The NLT says their “hopes of wealth were shattered.” The word hope actually means “absolute certainty of future good.” This isn’t, “we’re down by ten points late in the fourth quarter, I hope we can come back and win” hope. This is, “By this hope we are saved, Romans 8:24″ kind of hope. The word for wealth means income from work. So this is confidence in income. It is job security.

By casting out this demon, Paul and Silas set a girl free from spiritual bondage. But that is not what those around saw. They saw him attack their fine tradition and take away their job security. I’m pretty sure the businessmen and the crowd there at Philippi reacted the same exact way most people throughout the western world would react.

React: Am I more concerned with tradition, income, and security than I am with freedom? The coffee I drank this morning, how did it get to me so cheaply? What is its true price? If you’re engaged or married, look at that diamond. How did it from the ground to you? What is its story? Do we know? Do we care? The gas we put in our car… how much turmoil in our world hinges on the demand for this stuff?

We have a fine tradition of getting whatever we want, whenever we want it, for as cheaply as possible. But price should not be measured by dollars and coins. Businessmen and whoever cared to pay, were banking their future on the words this girl would speak. It was a win, win. The girls owners were making a tidy sum and those hearing their fortunes were getting good advice/predictions too. But it wasn’t a win for that slave. I get it cheap. The store makes money. We both win. Who is the loser in this picture? Do I care enough to find out?

Respond: 

God, don’t let me ever grow comfortable in my convenience. Don’t let me be so quick to grow angry when that convenience is torn from me. Help me to be aware of the cost to others my lifestyle and income are built on. If there are changes I need to make, give me the courage and discipline to make them. Help me to be about bringing Your freedom, not just in the forever-after but also in the here and now.

11 thoughts on “The Cost Of Freedom (6/25/13)

  1. I think you may be extrapolating too far. Paul had direct, personal knowledge of the enslavement. And he had access to power to end it.
    There is no doubt that economic emslavement can and does exist. And since people have been known to lie for their own self interest, finding out may prove more hypothetical than practical.
    The question is then is economic emslavement the same as spiritual emslavement to a demon. I would venture to say no.
    In Christ Jesus all are equal, man and women, slave and free, to paraphrase St. Paul.
    Should the Christ follower seek to alleviate the pain and suffering of their fellow human beings? Absolutely. To restore dignity to life. That’s why hospitals were started by Christians. This is why there are homes in India for the children of prostitutes, run by Christians. Direct and personal knowledge. I think the question might be, what are Christ followers doing here in the USA to do something similar. Crisis pregnancy centers come to mind. But, there is more. Where else can we help to rebuild that which Satan has torn down?

    • I wasn’t looking at Paul in this text. I was looking at the businessmen and the community that threw Paul in jail. While reading this I felt God asking me, “How do you react when your income or security is threatened?” In digging deeper, I added culture to those things being attacked. God has called certain people at certain times to an apostolic ministry, to be Paul. Not all in the church are gifted in that way. We have probably all met, though not in such a blatantly obvious way, the demon possessed girl. Slave to sin, victim to circumstance. But it is doubtful we are, or are in immediate danger of becoming her. All of us are in danger of being the businessmen or the community. We are all in danger of perpetuating, either through inaction or exploitation, a system that keeps girls like her down.

      God, bring the Pauls who are gifted by You to be catalysts for major change. Help us all to be a better community that will allow no shelter for businessmen like these.

    • Wouldn’t you agree that one is a slave of whatever they allow to master them ? Be it economic or spiritual, we need a deliverer, I.e. Jesus.

  2. Thank you for sharing this thought provoking piece. As Christians, I am amazed at how (these days at least) we get caught in economic hysteria, political and social headwinds. As followers of Christ, the Bible is not unclear about our roles as believers. However, the pull of the world is so strong that in many instances, we find ourselves justifying the world’s view with the word of God– or screaming in fear about all world events, crooning along with the ever present chant of the ever vocal, and ever present media.

    It seems we are either complacent or on the edge. Meanwhile, our role is to be steadfast and dynamic in living a Godly life in this world.

    We are here, and the world is tangible and real, but so is our faith and hope. Our response in life and our walk as Christians is supposed to reflect a steadfast reliance on God–a spiritual and COMPASSIONATE walk.

    Thank you for capturing this pivotal matter of our very lives, in this post, in the world as followers of Christ.

    Cheers!

  3. I absolutely adore this post sir! Many Many thanks for your spreading ‘The Word’. Relate: I have had many worldly possessions. I have had minimal worldly possessions. everything that means anything to me, and to teach my children, is: my freedom, in direct relation to my/our relationship with Him. thank you …

  4. Challenging thoughts. I detect you associate the mindset of these businessmen with western culture’s “I want it all and I want it for nothing, without regard for the welfare of others.” Interesting. While God here is at work preparing to save a Philippian jailer’s home, it is no stretch to rightly survey which characters we most likely identify with in the narrative. You may have unearthered a diamond of your own. Think I’ll be a little more appreciative of what I pay for products and services rendered today. Very good.

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