DAILY BIBLE READING:
2 Kings 23:31–25:30
BIBLE VERSE(S) FOR TODAY:
Psalm 2:11 (CSB) “Serve the Lord with reverential awe and rejoice with trembling.”
REFLECTIONS ON TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):
This morning, I want to reflect on a verse other than the Verse for Today.
In Acts 23, we read about a very volatile gathering. Paul was warned about going to Jerusalem but he went anyway. Once there, even though he tried to create terms of peace, the Jewish religious leaders would have none of it.
In this chapter, Paul is before the Council. The Sanhedrin. They were the Jewish Supreme Court. And Paul was standing and speaking boldly even though his life hung in the balance.
And then it got crazy. Paul said that he had lived with a clear conscience and the High Priest told someone close by to hit Paul on the mouth.
It would have hurt. But, Paul wasn’t backing down. His temper flared and he looked at the man who had ordered the punishment and brazenly said:
“Then Paul said to him, ‘God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! You are sitting there judging me according to the law, and yet in violation of the law are you ordering me to be struck?'” (Acts 23:3 – CSV)
A punch had been thrown that landed on Paul’s mouth. Then, with stinging lips, Paul retorted with his own verbal attack. Then, as the conflict escalated (only compounded by the fact that everyone felt justified)…
“Those standing nearby said, ‘Do you dare revile God’s high priest?'” (Acts 23:4 – CSV)
This conflict was escalating and someone needed to deescalate it, and do it quickly. It was Paul’s turn…
“‘I did not know, brothers, that he was the high priest,’ replied Paul. ‘For it is written, You must not speak evil of a ruler of your people.'” (Acts 23:5 – CSV)
Paul acknowledged his error. He knew that God’s Word forbid speaking evil about those in authority. He knew he had violated God’s Word.
So, he owned it.
As I read the biblical account, I suspect that tension was building in the room much like pressure in a crock pot. But, Paul was humble enough to own his error and I suspect that the tension quickly left the room.
Friend, disagreements are going to happen. It is super easy to help them escalate. Our sinful pride enables us to have the knee-jerk reactions that fill the room with tension.
But, if we ask the Lord for humility, He can use us to quickly calm things down.
Remember this the next time you get into an argument.