Read This Week: Acts 16

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. – Acts 16:25-26 NIV

Music is a universal language. It is something that God created that transcends time, space, circumstances, and cultural barriers. Music can alter moods, uplift spirits, unite hearts, and communicate deep truths and meaning like nothing else. Music and songs are also an expression of worship to God that cannot be stopped by anything on earth. In any situation, the songs of our hearts can offer praise and adoration to our Savior no matter where we are or what we’re going through. Worship is a powerful thing. 

The story of Paul and Silas praying and singing hymns to God in their imprisonment and suffering in Acts 16 is as poignant and gripping as it comes in the Scriptures. Charles Spurgeon once said about this passage, “It is easy to sing when we can read the notes by daylight; but the real singer is he who can sing when there is not a ray of light to read by. Songs of the night come only from God; they are not in the power of men.”

Paul and Silas found themselves persecuted and wrongfully imprisoned but instead of complaining or asking God to judge, rebuke, and destroy their captors, they worshipped and sang to Him. The Lord gave them the song of their heart that set them free and eternally impacted those who witnessed it. Verses 26-31 tell us this about the jailer in charge of their imprisonment:

Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” The jailer called for lights, rushed in, and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 

The salvation of the jailer and his whole family is touching and an incredible demonstration of God’s glory revealed through our worship in intense challenges and amid the attempted suppression of the gospel. What we often view as a dead end, God views as an instance to reveal His glory, make himself known and do something unexplainable. 

Our worship cannot be confined to human spaces or subjected to time frames that we deem appropriate or necessary. But our faith in God and his capacity can be way too small. We want Him to show up and make it better when in reality, He has the power and capability to show up and change everything.

God’s glory is revealed in the entirety of the universe and in the lives and circumstances of human beings that worship Him. It can transform what is seemingly hopeless, mundane, beyond repair, or turbulent. It can reveal Jesus’ power and glory in his perfect timing. And when that power and authority are on display, joyful songs of gratitude break out, chains fall off, and people walk free. Sometimes all it takes is a song before we go.

4 Comments

  1. Heidi on February 5, 2021 at 8:49 am

    Acts 16 says, 6 Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.

    What I love about these scriptures is it shows Paul’s relationship with God. He is listening, he has learned to hear God’s voice. It’s so important every day to LEARN how to be lead by Father God, to learn from Jesus when He is permitting us to go or not to go. It’s important to be lead by the Holy Spirit when to proclaim the Word, to tell someone about Jesus, let it be known because He knows what’s really going on around us.

    I also believe it’s important to want to, desire to seek God with your whole heart to hear Him, to set your heart on what is on Father God’s heart, because it will help us to be on the right path throughout our day with Him. God loves us so much that He has blessed us with everything we need to do life with Him. I am so thankful to God for His everlasting love.

    I feel like God put on my heart this Love letter from Him to you – to share with you, Go to youtube.com and type in “Father’s Love Letter”. You will be blessed

    • Jason on February 11, 2021 at 9:30 am

      Heidi, I love how you pointed to the power of Paul’s ministry coming from his connection and personal devotion to God. This part set the tone for your post: What I love about these scriptures is it shows Paul’s relationship with God. He is listening, he has learned to hear God’s voice.

      It is easy to read Acts and focus on the events, happenings, and miracles that God accomplished through the Church and miss the personal connection that the believers He used greatly had to Him and the Holy Spirit. Thank you for always calling our attention to the importance of our intimacy with God as He calls us to live for Him and be apart of great things.

  2. Kathy on February 7, 2021 at 1:59 pm

    This is what God was saying to me in this chapter: “Anyone can be happy in pleasant circumstances, but the real joy comes from within. I want you to continue to bless Me and praise Me even in the bad circumstances. I want the lives of others to be more important to you than your own personal freedom and comfort. I want you to be a natural magnet drawing people to Me.

    Your Christianity should make others want what you have with Me. You need to trust Me with the salvation of your own family. They will all be saved because they trust in My word, and in My son Jesus. You can’t save them; only I can. Quit stressing over things not in your control. Trust in Me. Your obedience to My will is important.”

    What this said to me is I have to stop trying to control things that are not in my control. I need to trust God and let His light shine through me to others, to be a magnet for Him. I want my legacy to be the kind of servant that brought others to Him.

    • Jason on February 11, 2021 at 8:33 am

      Kathy, this was such a good post. This line was convicting and stood out to me: I have to stop trying to control things that are not in my control. I need to trust God and let His light shine through me to others, to be a magnet for Him.

      Control is a big thing for us human beings. We desire it and will do just about anything to get it and keep it. But as you said, this is not God’s perfect will for us as His children. Control doesn’t work when it comes to obedience, submission, and handling our difficult circumstances.

      It also never works when it comes to influencing our family and friends for Jesus or drawing people to us. God has to take over in all of it for there to be eternal results. Thank you for this sobering reminder and truth.

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