Scripture Reading: Acts 13:4-12
“You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.” (Acts 13:10,11)
These strong words of Paul were directed toward a false prophet who was used of Satan to lead people astray from God’s truth. People like this must be confronted. There are times we must take a strong stand against evil and those who are opposing the gospel by leading people into falsehood.
Paul and Barnabas began their first missionary journey. They left Antioch and being led by the Holy Spirit went to Selucia, Cyprus, and Salamis. In Paphos they met a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus. He claimed to be a magician also. Elymas, as he was also known, was detrimental to the spread of the gospel. He had a relationship with the proconsul of the region whose name was Sergius Paulus.
Evidently Sergius Paulus had heard of Paul and Barnabas. He was a man of intelligence and was interested in the message Paul and Barnabas were proclaiming (v. 7). However, Bar-Jesus opposed Paul and Barnabas and sought to turn the proconsul away from the faith (v. 8). When he attempted to do this, Paul confronted him with harsh words. Paul was being led by the Holy Spirit as he spoke these words to Bar-Jesus.
Obviously, Paul was angry. He saw how Satan was using Bar-Jesus to turn the proconsul away from the faith. Thus, Paul did not hold back. He openly opposed this false prophet and was determined not to let this man hinder the work of the gospel. In the end, the proconsul became a believer: “Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord” (v. 12).
There are times when we must be filled with righteous indignation. When we see Satan using others to mislead people from the truth of the gospel, we must not remain silent. We must confront those who are attempting to turn people away from the faith. We must have a holy zeal for the defense of the gospel. However, we must be Spirit led as we do so. Otherwise we are operating out of sinful anger, pride, and self-righteousness.
Lord, give me a holy zeal for the truth of the gospel. Let me be filled with righteous indignation when I see people leading others away from Your truth. Yet, may I be filled with the Spirit in order to respond as You would have me do so rather than out of my own pride and self-righteousness.