Summary: We all have had bad days; even believers. How we react to those bad days testify to the depth of our spiritual maturity.
“SO, YOU HAD A BAD DAY”
16 Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, "These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation." 18 And this she did for many days.
But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her." And he came out that very hour. 19 But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities.
20 And they brought them to the magistrates, and said, "These men, being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city; 21 and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe." 22 Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods. 23 And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. 24 Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone's chains were loosed. 27 And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. 28 But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, "Do yourself no harm, for we are all here."
29 Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 And he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
Have you ever had a bad day; a really bad day? We all have. No one is immune to bad days. Thankfully, not many of us have had a day as bad as Paul and Silas’ in this text. Their day could be summarized by that wise old saying, “No good deed goes unpunished.”
You might be saying to yourself, “I not only have had a bad day, I’ve had a bad week, a bad month, and a bad year.” Sometimes we look for something good to cheer us up and it’s just not there. It’s just the way things are.
In this text we find some basic advice on how to handle life’s most difficult times.
1. A BAD DAY BEGAN WITH A GOOD DEED (vv. 17-18):
17 This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, "These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation." 18 And this she did for many days.
But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her." And he came out that very hour.
Shouldn’t casting a demon out of a young girl earn someone at least one good day? It wasn’t enough for the disciples. As a reward for doing the right thing they got thrown into prison. Sometimes knowing that we’ve done the right thing because it is the right thing will have to be enough.
Even Jesus was seldom if ever rewarded here on earth for His good deeds and there were so many of them that according to John (John 21:25) there would not be enough space in all the books of the world to record them.
2. A BAD DAY WAS MADE WORSE BY THE INAPPROPRIATE REACTION OF UNBELIEVERS (v. 19):
19 But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities.
We are always shocked by the inappropriate reaction of unbelievers to the things we do for God as if we were expecting them to somehow appreciate our motives. We can never depend on the lost world either understanding or appreciating us. They are not capable of this because they do not have the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, when we do something good for God Jesus said we ought to expect opposition.
3. A BAD DAY WAS MADE BETTER BY A GOOD ATTITUDE (v. 25):
25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.