Summary: God speaks in a special and personal way in close calls today. Life is filled with close calls and narrow escapes'

The Voice In A Close Call

Acts 16:10-34

We were entering the highway at an entrance notorious as a black spot for fatal accidents. The speeding traffic was bumper to bumper. There was no opening for merger or entry. Although we stopped well back, a car entering an adjacent exit too early, missed us by a mere whisker. I thought, “My that was close call.! As I sat for a second all trembling and shaken, I breathed a sigh of relief and said a little prayer of thankfulness. I later read that another man in the same spot and situation was not so fortunate. He was hit and then, as he sat immobilized, his car exploded in flame and he was incinerated. Praise the Lord, we survived this close call.

God has spoken to man in many ways. He spoke from a burning bush. He once used a donkey for a mouth piece. He spoke from a mountain top in thunderings and lightnings. He spoke in a whirlwind. He still speaks today when the earth and the heavens declare His handiwork and His glory. His still small voice still speaks to the hearts of men. But I believe He still He speaks in a special and personal way in close calls today. Life is filled with close calls and narrow escapes. It sometimes seems we are surrounded by disaster. I am sure God was speaking to many millions through the events of the twin towers , on September 11, 2001. In the months and years that have followed, we have read personal accounts of dozens of people who testify they missed death by a whisker on that fateful day. Some have said they recognized the voice of God in it all.

I read that on the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania, those who were preparing to attack the terrorists joined their hands and repeated the Lord’s prayer together just before they acted. Evidently, they recognized God’s voice in the situation. In fact, as I recall, we had a number of people attend our service the week after the tragedy as an obvious result of what might be termed a wake up call. But it seems that for most the voice of God soon faded into the background noise of the terrible world into which we live. In Australia, the whole scenario was repeated in the Bali bombing. But again, the wake up call seemed to be short lived.

But the voice of the close call does not always come from such dramatic events. It may be a narrow escape or a serious illness. A time when the wings of death obviously brush us by or the breath of the grim reaper seems to be breathing down our neck. Whether we step on board a plane bound for Sydney, London or Los Angeles or go for a drive down the coast for a few days holiday, we must remember that but for His love, mercy and providence, we may never return to our loved ones on earth. Besides that, most fatal traffic accidents and close calls, as in the case of the Philippian jailer, occur much closer to home.

Let us look at this story for a moment. Paul and Silas had answered the Macedonian call to go to the great country of Macedonia to win souls, baptize and disciple them and plant a New Testament Church in the strategic city of Phillippi. God had immediately gave souls for their labour and other great spiritual blessings. But, as is so often the case in the Lord’s work, such blessings obviously angered the wicked one. He began to raise up serious opposition. You see, Satan is not concerned with a church that is dead spiritually or a preacher who is not preaching the gospel truth and winning souls. He focuses his attack upon those who dare to be Daniels.

In this case, God’s men are beaten and end up in jail praying, preaching, and praising God at midnight. Since greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world, God intervened on the behalf of His faithful servants. I believe God honoured their faith and faithfulness in extreme adversity. I am sure that they were the only ones in this entire episode who were not surprised or astonished when God so powerfully engineered their jail break. Can you imagine the effect all this had upon the jailer, his family and ultimately all those around him? Life was going on as usual. Little did the jailer know that God was about to upset the apple cart of his day to day existence. I am sure he did not suspect that the great God of the universe was about to speak to him in such a peculiar and powerful way. Then it happened. In a flash, the jailer’s little world is brought crashing down around him. If the prisoners escaped, not only would he and his family be disgraced and suffer the loss of his coveted powerful position and possessions, but Roman law demanded that he pay for the loss of the prisoners with his own life. To say the least, the voice of God speaking in a close call got his immediate attention.

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