Devotional - I'm Gonna Wait 'til The Midnight Hour

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, Feb 23, 2014.

  1. Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! - Acts 16: 25-26 (NLT)

    American music icon Wilson Pickett once sang about waiting til the midnight hour, when love would come tumbling down. Two thousand years before he sang the blues however, the Apostle Paul and Silas sat in prison waiting til the midnight hour on God. The story is overflowing with such great theology for us to grab a hold of today when we too are waiting on God. Sometimes it seems as if we too are waiting and waiting for God to move, or save us, or deliver us. Joseph waited 14 years between the promise and the manifestation - the majority of those years in prison for something he didn't even do. The woman with the issue of blood waited over a decade, trying all the help the world had to offer before she simply reached out for the hem of the garment of Jesus. The first lesson we need to grab a hold of today is that if you find yourself in a waiting period of uncertainty, you are in good company.

    The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. - 2Peter 3: 9 (NLT)

    Was God not ready while Joseph sat in prison year after year? Of course not. Joseph wasn't ready. He wasn't ready for the next season God had for him. A season of great importance and leadership that would save all the nations around him including God's people. Was God not ready to heal the woman with the issue of blood? Of course not. Based on the text, He was probably waiting for the woman to stop pursuing the solutions of the world and start pursuing Him. These are important lessons for us today as we wait on God. Sometimes, it is God waiting on us. Waiting for us to get over the bitterness of our situation. You see, Joseph would not be the leader he needed to be if he still harbored hatred and resentment for his brothers or even Potiphar's wife. Sometimes God is waiting for us to turn fully to Him for our solution. The Bible says the woman spent all of her savings trying to have the professionals of her world solve her blood issue only to exhaust all of her funds and see her condition only get worse. Beloved - you cannot expect the carnal world to solve our spiritual problems. Sometimes, God is waiting on us. Back to Paul and Silas. How exactly did they end up in prison?

    A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks. - Acts 16: 22-24 (NLT)

    Sometimes life has a way of beating us down, stripping us of our dignity and our bodies feeling like wooden rods have been taken to them. Don't fall for the candy coated smiling preachers with thousand dollar suits asking you for your "seed." Life is real and sometimes, even as a Christian, it can be brutal and harsh. Jesus never promised we would avoid hardship. He did promise we can overcome it through Him. But the timing is always up to God. From these verses explaining the backdrop to the prison story however, we see two more lessons to grab hold of today. The first is that we may find ourselves in our prison for no fault of our own. Paul had delivered a slave girl of a demon but because that demon allowed her to tell fortunes (those demons are in the same business today by the way. Don't mess around with "psychics" or the occult beloved) her owners stood to lose a lot of money. So they trumped up charges and rallied the mob to their cause. Sometimes we are just ridiculous in what we expect from the world. Justice? Fairness? Equity? Loyalty? Oh beloved do not expect these things from a world that cares only about themselves at the end of the day. Joseph stood on principle and refused to have sex with Potiphar's wife and for his righteous stance he was thrown in prison for over a decade! The Bible doesn't specify but there is no reason to believe the woman with the blood issue did anything to deserve that condition. What's the lesson for us today? Do not waste your time trying to find fairness or reason in how you got to your position today. Do not bemoan the past because there is nothing you can do about it. All we can do is seek God in our present, trusting Him for our future.

    The second lesson from the backdrop is that we cannot expect easy treatment. There is a lot of poor theology out there today. Many Christians are deceived into thinking that God cares about our comfort more than our character. That somehow God was OK with watching His only Son brutally crucified but He doesn't want us to be remotely inconvenienced. Look at Paul and Silas here. They are not just thrown in prison but they are beaten down, taken to the inner dungeon and had their feet clamped in stocks. Yes God prospered Joesph in prison and he found favor with the warden but do you think this was a pleasant experience for him? The valley is supposed to be deep. The desert is supposed to be hot. We must understand that God is perfecting us.

    Remove the impurities from silver, and the sterling will be ready for the silversmith. - Proverbs 25: 4 (NLT)

    How are impurities removed? With the application of intense heat. That is where we find ourselves often waiting on God. That is where Joseph found himself. That is where Paul and Silas found themselves. Thus we come to the key verses and find what God is saying to us in the fire. The first and most important lesson is that we must draw closer to God during the process, not shrink away. This is not always easy as we are always distracted and even more so when it seems like our world is falling apart. It is easy to focus on the problem instead of the problem solver. Paul and Silas were prisoners in a foreign land. They have been beaten to within an inch of their lives and escape was simply a human impossibility. How often is that our situation too beloved? Our life has beaten us down and we cannot see a way out at all. There is no human answer, as the woman with the issue of blood had to learn the hard way. Yet hours after being shackled in the inner dungeon where do we find Paul and Silas? Are they bemoaning their situation? Are they scheming how they can get out of it? No; they are singing hymns to God and praying. Two important lessons for us here. The first is that our prayer life needs to be intensified when we are facing the unknown. We must turn over the unsolvable situations to the God we serve. The only real God. The one who spoke everything into existence with a single spoken sentence. Jesus Christ conquered the grave and defeated death itself! Surely He can secure that job you need! Surely He can bring that wayward child home! Surely He can confound the doctor's report!

    Then this message came to Jeremiah from the Lord:“I am the Lord, the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me? - Jeremiah 32: 26-27 (NLT)

    The answer is NO! Nothing is too hard for God! The second important lesson is we must praise God in advance of the miracle. Praise reminds us who God is and who we are. It reminds us of what He can do and how small our problems are in relation to how big our God is! It displays faith to praise God for a deliverance that has not come yet. The three Hebrew boys stood in front of the fiery furnace facing a horrible death and here was their understanding of the God they served:

    Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver usfrom Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” - Daniel 3: 16-18 (NIV)

    Beloved, whatever is the matter facing us today we do not need to defend ourselves in relation to it. God can deliver us if it is His sovereign will. He has already delivered us from death and an eternal life in hell. If He does nothing else for me the rest of my life, He has already done everything. Shackled to our problems and situations we need to turn even more forcefully to God. Prayer and praise can break any shackle in God's time.

    Another vital lesson from the key verses often gets overlooked. The Bible says the other prisoners were listening! The unsaved people in our lives will watch us very closely in the valley. They will want to see this God we spent so much time praising when things were going well act on our behalf now that we are up against it. They cannot see doubt and unbelief. They need to see the faith of Paul and Silas in action. They need to see us still on our knees and still singing His praises. Why is it so important? Let's see what happens as a result:

    The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself.But Paul shouted to him, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!” - Acts 16: 27-28 (NLT)

    I want you to seriously consider this picture for a moment. The Bible says here that all the chains fell off all of the prisoners, not just Paul and Silas. That means all of the unbelieving prisoners had their perfect chance to escape. But did they? No! They stayed with Paul and Silas. One of the most amazing sentences in the Bible is - We are all here! The same is true in our life as well. When the people in our lives see the result of our faith they will want to stay with us as well. Not only that; but the most hardened carnal unbeliever will drop to his knees and ask how he can get what we have:

    The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.Then he brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” - Acts 16: 29-30 (NLT)

    Our temporal problems are never as severe as the eternal problem our unsaved loved ones are facing every day. One day their life will be required of them and they will stand before Jesus. There is no more powerful witnessing tool than a life bowed before God while standing before the fiery furnace and then watching God do the impossible. How powerful?

    They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.” And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household. Even at that hour of the night, the jailer cared for them and washed their wounds. Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized. He brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and he and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God. - Acts 16: 31-34 (NLT)

    This jailer, who was going to kill himself when he thought his prisoners had escaped instead walked away that day as a precious child of God; as well as his family!. Remember, in all likelihood he participated in the beating of Paul and Silas. His cruelty was met with mercy. His sin with grace. That is the plan of God beloved.

    I do not know where this writing finds you today. I know the valley I walk through. I am not suggesting that these lessons are easily applied in our lives. Our problems are real and pretending to be super-spiritual will not help us. I know that some of these valleys run so deep and that they seemingly have no end. Believe me I know. The final lesson for today however comes from the beginning of the key verses. It was at the midnight hour that Paul and Silas were delivered. Maybe God was waiting for the other prisoners to realize what they were hearing from the inner dungeon because as it turned out, the prison experience for Paul and Silas ended up being about more than themselves. Whatever the reason, God is saying to us today that we can wait until the midnight hour. We can wait until it seems as if there is simply no more hope left in our tank. We can wait until the last possible second and God can still come through. We do not need to fear the midnight hour - we need to embrace it. We need to turn even more to God in the midnight hour not walk away from Him. His ways are so far above our ways that we cannot possibly understand what is going on in the heavenlies. The final message for us today is this:

    I'm gonna wait til the midnight hour - because God is still God.

    Reverend Anthony Wade - February 23, 2014
    JustPassingThru likes this.

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