Acts 23:10 – And when there arose a great dissension, the chief captain, fearing lest Paul should have been pulled in pieces of them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them, and to bring him into the castle.
One of the most frightening, and I do mean frightening, passages of Scripture one can read is found in 2 Timothy 2:24-26. It concerns the matter of strife, and the absolute necessity that the servant of the Lord avoids it. While I am sure that Paul did not intentionally walk into the arena of strife in which he found himself, a close reading of Acts 23 indicates that a place of deep strife is precisely where he was. I am sure he realized the potential of discord that existed between the Pharisees and Sadducees. You see, the Pharisees believed in a resurrection, in angels, and in spirits, while the Sadducees believed in none of that, so there was already a great potential for dispute. Then when Paul identified himself as a Pharisee, it almost seemed as if he incited the discord. In fact, he may have done so deliberately, expecting the confusion to allow him to escape.
But that is not what happened. The contention between the Pharisees and Sadducees was so sharp that it appeared to the chief captain that Paul, a Roman citizen, might be torn apart in the scuffle. So, he ordered Paul’s removal from the argument. It appears that Paul did not recognize the potential danger in which he placed himself when strife arose. You see, the bottom line of this matter is this. A place of strife is in no way a place for the believer. I encourage you to take a moment and read our Manna for Today, especially the passage in 2 Timothy.
In that passage we read that when a servant of God is in strife, he has fallen into the snare of the devil where Satan can take the servant of God captive whenever he desires, and use him in any way he desires. That, dear reader, is a terrifying place to be. Can you imagine being a servant of God, a leader of God’s people, having worked many years in serving the kingdom, only to be used by Satan whenever he desires, wherever he desires, and not being able to stop him? How horrifying! It defies natural understanding that a man of God, even with years of experience and so much to offer, falling into strife, can become a servant of the devil so easily. The child of God MUST avoid strife at all costs. It’s not about winning an argument or being victorious in a debate, making your point. It’s about living by faith, walking in love, forgiving, and being ruled by the peace of God that passes all understanding.
Manna for Today – Acts 23:1-11; Amos 3:3; 2 Timothy 2:24-26