WEEKLY DEVOTION–No gods At All!

WEEKLY DEVOTION–No gods At All!

And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of
people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that gods made
by human hands are no gods at all. (Acts 19:26)
Rome was a dominate world power during the days that Jesus walked on this earth. With its
iron grip and powerful fist, it had brought a time of rare peace among nations. Commerce
thrived along with the economy. Life had seldom been so good for so many people. But seldom
had so many lives in the Roman Empire been empty of hope and meaning.
On the tombstone of a child in those days the words were written: “To the unjust gods who
robed me of life” and that of a girl of twenty: “I lift my hands against the god who took me
away, innocent as I am.”
Faith in the gods of Rome had evaporated. Once Jupiter and Venus and Mars, and other gods
were looked to in faith and hope. Now, many found only emptiness in religion.
Yet, some still clung in desperation to the old gods. This was especially true in Ephesus, where
the primary source of income came from manufacturing silver images of the goddess, Diana.
When the Apostle Paul began teaching that Diana, and all the other Roman idols were fake, he
stirred up the proverbial hornets’ nest. Protesters filled the streets. Their chants filled the air.
“Great is Diana of the Ephesians!” they shouted.
Saint Paul’s words held a double threat: loss of income, and loss of faith in Diana. Something
had to happen. And it did. The Apostle and his companions were thrown before a violent
crowd. Anything could happen.
What did happen was surprising. A clerk of the court addressed the crowd, settled them down,
and the Christians safely went on their way.
We might have expected to see a miracle. At other times, Apostles had been arrested under
such circumstances. Angels had been sent to open prison doors and overcome prison guards.
Not this time. This time the only true God, with unlimited options, chose to deliver his people
through everyday means. The tempers were lowered, the danger receded, by words of reason.
Probably, this is the option he most often uses in our cases of danger. We walk away unaware
of his controlling hand or his vigilant angels. Because we fail to see what he has done, we fail to
thank him for it—until we remember that he is with us even when we see him not.
Our hearts go out to those who cry out in anguish against the gods who are not. We are
compelled to increase our efforts to share the wonderful gospel with them.
After all, “gods made by human hands are no gods at all.”
We pray:
Lord of life and death, without whom we have no hope, we thank you for your saving grace
that brought us to saving faith in you. On our own, we would have trusted in worthless gods
and faced life and death without you. Use our feeble efforts to share the good news with
others that there is a merciful God in the heavens, and he is not made by human hands.
Amen.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain
and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida
Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military