Friday, April 15, 2011

Sing 'till the earth shakes!

I like to sing in church.

There. I said it. I like singing.

I did NOT claim to sing very well, though.

Yet, not even I, on my worst day, could make the earth quake with my singing.

Paul and Silas did, though!

Paul and Silas had just delivered a demon-possessed girl (who happened to be making her 'masters' a lot of money), but the masters turned on them and brought them to the city officials...

Acts 16: 20-24.
"And when they had brought them before the magistrates, they declared, These fellows are Jews and they are throwing our city into great confusion.

They encourage the practice of customs which it is unlawful for us Romans to accept or observe!

The crowd [also] joined in the attack upon them, and the rulers tore the clothes off of them and commanded that they be beaten with rods.

And when they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them safely.

He, having received [so strict a] charge, put them into the inner prison (the dungeon) and fastened their feet in the stocks."

No trail, no lawyer, no nothing...just stripped, beaten, and thrown into the 'inner prison'--essentially, the dungeon.

A bad day, to be sure! So where's the singing?
Look at the very next verse:

"But about midnight, as Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the [other] prisoners were listening to them..." (Acts 16:25)

After all this--public humiliation, severe beating, thrown into a dungeon, hands and feet midnight they were SINGING!

How can that be?
How can they rise above their circumstances like that?
Sometimes if we get a hangnail, we can't do anything but complain! Yet, here they were, singing. "And the other prisoners were 'listening to them'.

I'll bet!
Probably at first, they tried to shut them up, but as Paul and Silas kept singing, gaining strength and volume, the prisoners had to be stricken with the circumstances of Paul and Silas, and wondered the same thing we would "How can they be singing?"

What happened next?

"Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the very foundations of the prison were shaken; and at once all the doors were opened and everyone's shackles were unfastened." (Acts 16:26)

Their singing made the earth quake!

True, it probably had everything to do with the God they were singing to, and not the tonal quality of their singing, but...

God went on to deliver them, to bring the jailer and his family to faith in Jesus, at which time they were baptized and became part of the new church in Philippi....and only the Lord knows how the other prisoners responded in the long run (we do know that, even though their chains fell off and they had the opportunity to escape, Paul and Silas had made such an impression that NONE had fled!).

But the point is this: Paul and Silas had such a close connection with the Lord, that--even amidst these terrible, unjust, unfair circumstances, they were singing!

There is strength in singing to the Lord in spite of your circumstances.

Keep singing! Keep walking in the victory and positivity that the Lord gives. Who knows? Maybe you will make the earth quake!

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