Sunday, May 31
There is a very revealing statement in Acts 18:10. Paul had been in Corinth for just a short time and was discouraged by all the opposition he had faced, mostly by his own people, the Jews. Here he was in a corrupt city, perhaps the most wicked city in the Roman Empire, riddled with pagan beliefs, sexual license and no doubt a lot of other vices. It was a daunting task that Paul had ahead of him. At this point, there were antagonistic Jews on one hand, pagan Gentiles on the other, and on top of that a Roman government that had no use for the new Christian sect. On his first missionary trip Jewish bigots had run him out of Iconium, then followed him to Lystra, where they stoned him and left him for dead. He had just recently been beaten and put in stocks in Philippi. No matter where Paul went, he was harassed and physically abused. It was enough to frustrate and discourage any man. I doubt if Paul arrived in Corinth with a lot of eager anticipation. Knowing this, God came to him in a vision to encourage him. First of all Paul would not be harmed, which must have been a comfort after his experience in Philippi. Then God made a very significant statement: “I have many people in this city.” Though it hadn’t happened yet, God knew that many would receive Christ through Paul’s preaching. It was not a guess; it was foreknowledge. But for Paul, who did not know the future, this must have been an enormous boost to his morale. Read Acts 18:11-17 for the rest of the story. God doesn’t always give us information about the future, but when encouragement is needed, He knows how to provide it. Take heart, soldiers! Carry on!