From today’s Moravian Texts, 1/15/15…
11 Now the hand of the Lord is against you (Elymas). You are going to be blind for a time, not even able to see the light of the sun.”
Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand. 12 When the proconsul (Sergius Paulus) saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.
This is an amazing showdown in today’s passage. Paul is trying to share the Good News of the Kingdom of God, but this guy, Elymas, keeps trying to sabotage him. So Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, displays the truth of his message with a display of God’s power by causing Elymas to be blind for a time.
What I find interesting is the two different reactions to the very tangible demonstration. The government leader that Paul had been talking to, Sergius Paulus, immediately believes the message and turns to God, while Elymas only turns to other people for help.
I think this captures two very different types of people we run into in our lives. The first are the type of people who are sincere seekers who are eager to receive good news (notice it says that Sergius Paulus was amazed at the teaching, not just the demonstration of power). They are refreshing and life giving folks!
The other is the group like Elymas, who are so jaded and darkened in their thinking that they can suck out all of the joy of life around them and even witnessing a miracle will do nothing to soften their hearts or make them turn to God.
Peter writes about these kinds of people in his second letter. He says:
But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water.
~2 Peter 3:5
That phrase, “deliberately forget” literally means, “dumb on purpose”.
It’s sad but we all can think of people who might fit into this category, the Elymas category.
My prayer for us today is that God would surround us with people like Sergius Paulus, who are people of peace and who are eagerly waiting to hear the Good News of the Kingdom and for the richness of life that comes with it, and will believe and turn to God because they are amazed at the message that there is an almighty God who loves them.