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Refuge

Refuge
Words of Faith 7-7-16
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2016
Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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Acts 19
[32] The assembly was in confusion: Some were shouting one thing, some another. Most of the people did not even know why they were there. [33] The Jews pushed Alexander to the front, and some of the crowd shouted instructions to him. He motioned for silence in order to make a defense before the people. [34] But when they realized he was a Jew, they all shouted in unison for about two hours: "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!"
[35] The city clerk quieted the crowd and said: "Men of Ephesus, doesn't all the world know that the city of Ephesus is the guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of her image, which fell from heaven? [36] Therefore, since these facts are undeniable, you ought to be quiet and not do anything rash. [37] You have brought these men here, though they have neither robbed temples nor blasphemed our goddess. [38] If, then, Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen have a grievance against anybody, the courts are open and there are proconsuls. They can press charges. [39] If there is anything further you want to bring up, it must be settled in a legal assembly. [40] As it is, we are in danger of being charged with rioting because of today's events. In that case we would not be able to account for this commotion, since there is no reason for it." [41] After he had said this, he dismissed the assembly.

Mob rule is a frightening thing. Paul’s companions were swept into a very dangerous situation. Mobs can develop anywhere. We have seen them in America but we have seen them with increasing frequency around the world with the current unrest. In Ephesus, the people were whipped into an emotional frenzy over their threats to their idolatry. The mob scene was filled with confusion, people shouting unintelligible outbursts, many people not even knowing why they are there and hours of chanting religious slogans.
Many scholars suggest that the situation in Ephesus was even more dangerous than Luke's account suggests. Paul said later that he had "fought wild beasts in Ephesus" (1Cor 15:32). He had "despaired even of life" in the face of "a deadly peril" in Asia (2 Cor 1:8-11). He also reported that Priscilla and Aquila had "risked their lives" for him (Rom 16:4).
Perhaps the point here is that none of this is new to God. People have behaved badly before and will again. Mobs have formed before and will again. Believers have been seized before and will be again. God has even these situations of confusion under His sovereign control.
It is interesting that the Psalmist speaks 43 times of God as our refuge in times of confusion, pain and difficulty. Surely such familiar words came Paul’s mind as his companions faced the frightening mob at Ephesus.
One of the most familiar is Psalm 46--
[1] God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. [2] Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, [3] though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Selah
[4] There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. [5] God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. [6] Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. [7] The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
[8] Come and see the works of the Lord, the desolations he has brought on the earth. [9] He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire. [10] "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." [11] The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

That says it all.

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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2001, 2016
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)
2820 Business Center Blvd.
Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200
Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com
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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.