One day, Paul and Silas were going to the place of prayer when they crossed paths with a slave girl. This slave girl was a fortune-teller, and her owners used her to make money. When the slave girl encountered Paul and Silas, she followed them and continuously announced to everyone that they were servants of God leading people to salvation. The slave girl did this for several days before Paul became annoyed.
When Paul became annoyed, he stopped walking, turned toward the girl, and told the satanic spirit to come out of her in the name of Jesus. The spirit of divination (*deev va nay shun) left the girl. Without the satanic spirit, the slave girl could no longer tell fortunes. Her owners were angry and dragged Paul and Silas to the marketplace before the rulers and then on to see the magistrates. Magistrates were judges.
When the slave owners arrived before the judges with Paul and Silas, they accused Paul and Silas of teaching unlawful things to the Roman citizens. This incited the judges and the crowd to attack Paul and Silas. The judges tore Paul and Silas’s clothing and sent forth an order for Paul and Silas to be beaten with rods and then thrown in jail.
After Paul and Silas were thrown in jail, the jailer placed them into the innermost part of the jail and fastened their feet with stocks. However, at midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God while the other prisoners listened on. When suddenly, there was a great earthquake that shook the very foundation of the prison, opened the doors, and loosened the bonds of every prisoner. When the jailer realized what happened, he decided to kill himself because he knew he would be killed if the prisoners escaped. However, Paul stopped him from killing himself and explained that everyone was there. The jailer called for a light and found the situation as Paul had said.
After the jailer realized everyone was still in place, he brought Paul and Silas out of the prison, fell before them, and asked what he must do to be saved. Paul told him that he must believe in the Lord Jesus and he and his household would be saved. Paul and Silas spoke the Word of God to the jailer and his household. After the jailer cleaned Paul and Silas’s wounds, the jailer and his household were baptized that same night. Later, the jailer took Paul and Silas to his home and fed them. Together, the jailer and his household rejoiced that they believed.
Source: Acts 16:16-34
* Easy Pronunciation Tool
- What do you think it means to be spiritually imprisoned?
- This story reveals four situations of imprisonment, two physical situations and two spiritual situations. What were the four situations?
- The girl in this story was a fortune teller. What do you know about fortune tellers?
- In this story, it is revealed that fortune telling is powered by evil spirits. Did you know this, and how do you feel knowing this? How will you behave differently?
- Paul used the name of Jesus to free the girl of the evil spirit, but he and Silas were thrown in jail. How do you feel about this?
- Despite being in jail, Paul and Silas continued to praise God. Can you name a situation where you continued to praise God despite the bad situation?
- To some, Paul and Silas’s situation would seem hopeless, but during their situation, they gave hope to the jailer who wanted to commit suicide. How can we give people hope during our bad situations? Give an example.
- Sometimes, God uses unusual situations to work his will. It does not always make sense to the human mind. Paul and Silas could have ignored the girl with the evil spirit, but would they have met the jailer and his family? Would the jailer and his family have heard the Word of God? What was more important?
What scriptures are key to this story?
- “Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God. Leviticus 19:31 ESV
- “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him. Deuteronomy 13:1-3 ESV
- So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36 ESV
- Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17 ESV
- Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9 ESV
- Through Jesus, anyone can be set free.
- God uses our suffering to bring hope to others.
- Experience freedom through praise.
- What is of God is of God, and what is of the devil is of the devil.
Father God, in the world today, fortune-telling, witchcraft, and other behaviors fueled by evil spirits have been normalized, but as people striving to serve you, help us to distinguish what is of you and what is not of you. When we recognize these things, give us the courage to stand firm in you. We ask this in Jesus’s name. Amen.
Take a moment to look at the things in your life, such as clothing, toys, and games. Do they have traces of fortune-telling, witchcraft, and other things of God that are not of God? If so, get rid of them.
Have bible study with your family and friends.
Share your thoughts about this lesson.
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