Paul shares with his Philippian fellow believers how, even from chains, the message of Jesus is flourishing. What man meant for evil God intends for good.
Paul is writing this letter while he is in Rome under arrest. But even while he is chained between guards, God’s word is still spreading. In fact it is spreading more because of his circumstances. Caesar’s own household was now hearing the message of salvation. Paul’s guards were being converted.
Because of Paul’s position others were becoming bolder in their sharing of the gospel. They had someone they could look directly to as an example of “suffering for Christ.” I’m sure they didn’t wish to be put in his position but by seeing how he conducted himself and how God blessed him in spite of his captors, others were made stronger. Paul points out that not everyone who was preaching the gospel was doing it with pure motives, but if God can use Pharaoh for His purposes, He can use self-serving pretenders too.
This account reminds me of Joseph being sold into slavery by his brothers. God knew what was ahead and what was necessary to provide for His people. He used evil intentions to work His miraculous plans. Plans that not only saved Israel but also all of Egypt.
God knows what lies ahead for each of us. He didn’t end that ability with Paul and the disciples. He still works things out in advance for us today. I can think of so MANY times He has done this in my life. My most recent “ah ha” moment is when I was thinking about how my education has benefitted me in the care of my husband. I have three college degrees and I’m not employing any of them for profit. But the training I received is being used instead in the daily care of my husband. He is disabled and requires 24 hour assistance. I am bring all my skills to bear to keep him happy and healthy.
I believe that God knew what I would need in this phase of my life when I was encouraged to pursue that first degree. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life at that point. I was newly divorced and had to find a way to care for my children on my own. God gave me direction through the hands of others and here I am today grateful for that prompting. No, I don’t believe He ordained every step I have taken in my journey, but He knew what I would need along the way and He made sure I received it. I LOVE seeing His fingerprints on the walls of my life!
Father God, even today when I came to You feeling lost and alone, You showed me how You have guided my life. Forgive me for complaining. Thank You for opening my heart to hear Your word tonight. I was feeling dry and alone. Instead of leaving me in that place, You brought my heart right back to Your blessings. Thank You for reminding me again of Your faithfulness. Thank You for letting me remind others too. Thank You that I am receiving as much from our study time together as anyone else. This is OUR time too! Forgive me for ever treating it as a job that had to be done. Remind me again and again of Your love and faithfulness.