September 7,2021 - Acts 25:1- 12
I am amazed at times how some people can hold a grudge and not release it until they get even for a wrong or a mistake made toward them. I had a man once say, “vengeance is better served on ice, when a person has forgotten and thinks that everything is in the past, that is when I enjoy getting even!”
The Jews had been scheming and planning for two years how to get Paul in a position where they could complete the pact that they had made to have Paul murdered. An opportune time had been created when the governor was changed from Felix to Festus. The Jews immediately asked for a transfer from Caesarea to Jerusalem so that they can ambush Paul.
Human nature is consistent, and it does not matter whether a person is rich, poor, high ranking, or insignificant, at times we attempt to please others and make ourselves acceptable. That is exactly what Festus attempts when he inquires whether Paul would go and stand trial in Jerusalem. The difference between Paul and Festus is Paul understands the Jewish mindset of keeping a vow and Festus underestimates their resolve.
The only way Paul would receive a fair trial is in a Roman courtroom outside of the city of Jerusalem and the Land of Israel. His Roman citizenship allowed for him to make the appeal to Caesar and Festus readily grants that right of appeal. Paul again is seeing the fulfillment of the promise made to him that he would bear witness of Christ in Rome (23:11). God keeps His word even when it requires moving the heart of a governor or preparing a legal precedent so that Paul could make appeals that would be granted!
“The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes” (Proverbs 21:1). We may question the role people assume or the dictates that are allowed to be made into law, but we also must rest in the knowledge that nothing surprises or is out of alignment with God’s sovereign plan. When nations crumble and cities melt under the heat of apparent injustice and seething anger rolls over a culture like a tsunami, God works in the storms of life.
In the busyness of the week, may we recognize God’s hand in the sweet moments of communion with Him as well as the difficult times of adversity. Like David, may we continually be reminded of the Spirit’s presence as it states in Psalm 55:22; “Cast our burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.”