Read Acts 16:25-34
“And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them” (v. 25).
“We must learn from Jesus what our attitude should be when life becomes painful — one of earnest prayer to our Father who is in heaven,” wrote Dennis Kinlaw in his devotional book, This Day with the Master That is just what Paul and Silas did when they were cast into prison.
The dramatic result, of course, was that God answered via an earthquake that opened the prison doors and shook off the chains that bound the two missionaries and other inmates. The quake also awakened the jailer, who feared for his life until Paul spoke encouraging words to him. And best of all, the jailkeeper gave his heart to God!
But these weren’t the only results of that midnight prayer. One that we almost always overlook is mentioned at the end of today’s verse: “and the prisoners heard them.” Scottish preacher George MacDonald picked up on that phrase and preached and wrote a wonderful sermon about it. Think of the prisoners lying in dark, cold, damp cells, perhaps bound with chains, losing hope of freedom with each day that went by. What did Paul’s singing mean to them? How did Silas’s praying affect them? How could it be that someone could sing in the dark night of suffering?
The missionaries’ worship not only brought deliverance — it ministered to others! (Steven E. Hight)
In our darkness do we encourage others?
Read Job 5:17-27
“He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee” (v. 19).
But wait, there’s more! The concept of claiming to offer an irresistible deal, then adding further incentives happens all the time in marketing campaigns. The Old Testament Hebrews often used the same ploy in their writings. When Job’s friend Eliphaz told him God would deliver him six — no, wait, seven! — times, he was really saying, “God will deliver you over and over and over again!
Can you imagine how that might have sounded to Job? “Look, Job, I know you’ve lost your oxen and donkeys and servants and sheep and more servants and camels and more servants and all your children, but God will deliver you again and again.” I don’t think I would have reacted as well as Job did.
Job’s first reaction to his tragedy was to worship the Lord, and his reaction to Eliphaz’s speech was a heartrending cry, “My grief cannot be measured!” It took what seemed to Job like an awfully long time, but when he rested on this promise, God did deliver him. (Michelle D. Avery)
Father, teach me to live standing on your promises.
Focus Text: 2 Kings 19:14-22, 32-35
Central Truth: There is no problem too great for God.
Objective: By the end of this lesson my students should be able to list some difficulties in their lives from which God has power to deliver them.
I. A Prayer for Deliverance (2 Kings 19:14-19)
II. An Answer from God (2 Kings 19:20-31)
III. A Deliverance Realized (2 Kings 19:32-35)