Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Clouds of Confusion

So then, some were shouting one thing and some another, for the assembly was in confusion and the majority did not know for what reason they had come together. Acts 19:32 (NASB)

For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. 1 Corinthians 14:33 (NIV)

Maybe the sun shone brightly in Ephesus, but cloudiness definitely muddled the minds of its citizens. Paul’s declaration about man-made gods not being gods rattled some Ephesians. Out in the streets, sounds of selfishness and greed thundered. Fanatical shouting attracted a crowd of confused people. And a war in the heavenlies raged. 

This chaotic scene occurred during the apostle Paul’s third missionary journey to spread the gospel. After Paul arrived in Ephesus, God performed amazing miracles through him which added to the number of believers of the Way (name for belief in Jesus as the way to human flourishing). As faith in Jesus Christ increased, evil accusations against the faith escalated. When Paul spoke truth, physical and spiritual battles intensified.

Fear prompted angry shouts after Paul proclaimed one God, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Way disrupted a way of life. The Way broke the prospect of prosperity. The business of fashioning silver shrines for the worship of false gods filled the pockets of many craftsmen with mass finances. Idol worship provided a lucrative business for the artisans of Ephesus.

What if the world turned away from idol worship and the goddess Artemis was dethroned? What if the vocation of producing man-made shrines collapsed altogether? Losing money and appearing disreputable incensed the silversmiths. Growing rage among the business owners lured curious people to join their unrest. Confusion infused the city and a mob pressed into a theater where rebellious shouts of “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians” lasted two hours. Discontent ran rampant throughout Ephesus while the disciples protected Paul from the hands of enraged individuals. Eventually the city leaders dismissed a quieted crowd and Paul journeyed to more lands with the gospel. 

Similar battles has been set on repeat for generations. When selfish motives dominate and intensify, misguided wanderers follow the loudest voice. The flourishing Way of life through Jesus our Peace gets muffled in the midst of murkiness and noise. Upheaval and uncertainty guide decisions. God’s Way gets pushed aside as people hunt for a more palatable truth to suit their own desires. You can trace this path all the way back to Adam and Eve.

But why? Why be lead astray? Why deviate from God’s good path and follow anyone or anything in the wrong direction? Because we all have wandered away like sheep; each of us has gone his own way (Isaiah 53:6).

The nature of our wandering reoccurs throughout Scripture. Jesus specifically addresses the issue in several of His parables as He tells about lost sheep and a prodigal son. He even names Himself as the Good Shepherd who lays His life down for us, His sheep. 

Yes, Jesus compares us to sheep for many reasons. At times we wander aimlessly like sheep without a shepherd. At times we follow the crowd like sheep follow other sheep. At times we allow fear to herd us together in packs like sheep congregate in large numbers for protection. Sound familiar? Have you ever behaved like a sheep? Have the clouds of confusion drawn you to places you really didn’t want to go? The Ephesians did it and so do we. 

But don’t despair. You have a Shepherd who loves you. He desires to show you the way, away from idols and confusion, to a flourishing life of peace. 

Wander back here next week with the purpose of discovering the similarities between humans and sheep, shepherds and the Good Shepherd. Hopefully we’ll gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and our Savior who longs to lead us in the path of righteousness to green pastures and quiet waters. 

In the meantime, move away from the noise and listen for His Voice. It won’t be the loudest one, but it’ll be the most pleasing. 

“Stand silent! Know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation in the world!” Psalm 46:10 (TLB)

“Come, follow Me,” Jesus said. Matthew 4:19 (NIV)

Listen to "Voice of Truth" by Casting Crowns.....

1 comment:

  1. Voices are everywhere! A wonderful encouragement of the warm gathering arms of our Shepherd. As always, well written. I declare you write in a way that pictures form in the mind and heart. I am appreciating the Christ in you.