October 29 – The Afflicted Slave Girl

Today’s woman of the Bible is a woman who suffered an affliction, and that affliction was misused and exploited to the advantage of others.  

Acts 16:16-23  Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally, Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.

19 When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”

22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully.” 

This woman obviously had an evil spirit because Paul became annoyed and commanded the spirit to come out of her in the name of Jesus Christ, and it obeyed.  The spirit enabled her to seemingly predict the future, and as part of that she was a slave and her owners used her to make money by her unique ability.  (Acts 16:19)  However, she was a captive.  She was demon possessed and needed to be set free.  Yes, the evil spirit recognized truth and proclaimed it (16:17), but just because evil recognizes truth, that does not make the spirit acceptable.  James 2:19 acknowledges this fact:  ‘You believe that there is one God.  Good!  Even the demons believe that—and shudder.’

Instead of her owners rejoicing that she had been set free, they were upset.  Their money-making afflicted slave girl could no longer be exploited.  She had just had an evil spirit cast out of her life, and ignoring the power of this miracle, they pushed to have the very one who performed the miracle thrown into jail.  Their focus was on making money not magnifying God.  Their focus was on prosperity rather than pity for her plight. And in their focus, they completely missed this miracle given to show the power of God and validate the words of the Apostles.

Today we have those words written and they have become our God-breathed New Testament.  May we not become so focused and busy that we, too, miss the point.  May we find the time to read His Word and have our hearts transformed to His glory.

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