The Providential Ruling: Acts 24:22-23
“22) But Felix, having a more exact knowledge about the Way, put them off, saying, “When Lysias the commander comes down, I will decide your case.” 23) Then he gave orders to the centurion for him to be kept in custody and yet have some freedom, and not to prevent any of his friends from ministering to him.” Acts‬ ‭24‬:‭22‬-‭23‬ ‭
At first glance, the decision to keep Paul in custody may appear disappointing, but Felix may have done him a favor.
First, it ensured Paul’s safety and protection from any left over conspiracy from the mob and devious elders on the Sanhedrin. He would be surrounded by Roman soldiers with swords, spears and warfare skills.
Second, because Felix had a more exact knowledge of the Way, there is no doubt he was seeking occasion to both converse and learn from Paul. This fulfilled part of the prophecy made about Paul in Acts 9:15-16. It afforded him opportunity to openly minister to the Gentiles and kings.
Third, Paul’s association with the centurion and many soldiers under his command became an open door for the spread of the gospel. It was like promoting Paul to become a Roman military chaplain. He briefly mentioned the fruitfulness of his stay in custody in Philippians 1:12-14. It was very important for the rapid spread of the gospel.
Finally, Felix granted Paul freedom to receive many friends and acquaintances. For a span of two years, Herod’s Praetorium in Caesarea became like a training school and church administer by Paul. Again, I point to Philippians 1:14. Many came to Christ through his various imprisonments and were emboldened to speak the word of God without fear. Paul was contagious for Jesus Christ.
So what is our takeaway from these verses? Well, they scream that God is greater than our circumstances. He wants to exploit our circumstances for His glory. He invites us to align ourselves with His purpose, power and will.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, Paul’s ministry and impact for the glory of God was greatly enhanced because of his imprisonment both at Caesarea and later in Rome. God working through Paul was not imprisoned!
So what are your current circumstances? Whether good or bad, riches or poverty, promotions or demotions, sickness or health, young or old, famous or obscure… God wants you to yield yourself to Him without reservation or inhibition. He wants to do exceeding great and amazing things through you right where you are at this moment in your life.
He can instantly change everything when He has fully accomplished His purpose in you through your trials. Do not resist Him or fight against Him. Rather seek Him and flow with Him. Align yourself with Him. He wants you to be a witness and shining light to those around you.
Most important, Jesus Christ calls you to Himself for deep and intimate fellowship through His Spirit so He can reveal the fulness of His glory and power to you. (Study Ephesians 1:15-23; 3:14-21; Colossians 1:9-29) He wants to work greatly in you so He can work mightily through you.
Paul was not a super saint. Peter was not a super saint. John was not a super saint. James was not a super saint. Timothy was not a super saint. Philip was not a super saint. They were examples of what God wants to do in and through every born-again child of God.
Don’t limit God in your life by being self centered, self focused and self promoting. Stop right now and align yourself with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Do not settle for mediocrity!
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global