Acts 16:25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.
The first formal job that I had was working at an amusement park for a man nicknamed Doc. I was 14 and Doc had three places of business in the park where he sold hamburgers, cotton candy and snow cones. My first day was in the snow cone stand working by myself. At closing time while cleaning up I found a $1 bill folded behind some stuff on the shelving below the counter.
When I turned my money in from the day’s sales I mentioned to Doc that the $1 I found was with the cash. I also mentioned that it struck me a bit strange to find a dollar bill like that. Doc and his wife laughed and said they had put it there to test my honesty – (so much for my grasp of the obvious). If I had taken it without turning it in, I would have failed the test and they simply would not have called me back to work.
Doing well in testing situations is wonderful. Some are more obvious like finding a wallet with money in it. But I’ve discovered that most of the time the testing situations we experience are much more subtle than the one described above. Consider the situation for Paul and Silas in the Macedonian jail in Philippi.
Their trip to Macedonia is such an incredible story. God sovereignly led them to be there and in the midst of their ministry, Paul cast a spirit out of a slave-girl that enabled her to tell the future, earning a fortune for her owners. Because of their loss, her owners drug Paul and Silas into the marketplace.
They were accused of creating uproar in the city and in essence became Public Enemies 1 & 2. Of course the crowd joined in on the attack, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. Then after being severely flogged they were thrown in prison – in an inner cell – with feet fastened in stocks.
What did Paul and Silas do in response to such unjustified brutal treatment? Instead of complaining or bemoaning their fate, they were praying and singing hymns to God – and the other prisoners were listening. As we shall see tomorrow, the jailer was listening too.