Paul Casts Out a Spirit of Divination

WEEK 34:


Acts 16:16-18 16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: 17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. 18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.

Paul and Silas have come to the city of Philippi in Macedonia. They are in thoroughly Gentile territory now. In fact, there are so few Jews in the city, there is no synagogue. The handful of Jews who are there, meet each Sabbath by the riverside for prayer. So Paul and Silas joined them and taught out of the Scriptures about Jesus being the Messiah. Soon a small group of disciples were gathering to grow in the faith.  But as Paul and Silas walked around the city, a young slave girl followed them around. She was possessed by a demon that spoke through her and told fortunes to people who paid her masters for her services Her masters had made a tidy little profit off her and enjoyed their income

The demon inside the girl kept shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved”. The demonic spirit knows that the presence and power of God is with the missionaries. The demon’s shouting is probably done in mockery, and is intended to disrupt, not enhance, the preaching of the Gospel. Jesus also encountered similar situations on several occasions where a demon keeps on shouting that Jesus is “the Holy One of God” (Luke 4:41; Luke 8:28; Mark 1:24, Mark 3:11; Mark 5:7).

Luke 4:33-35  33 And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice, 34 Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God. 35 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not.

But the spirit possessing the girl kept declaring to anyone who would listen that Paul and Silas were messengers of God and that they had come to show the people the way to salvation. One might think that Paul and Silas would appreciate this free advertising, especially since it came from a source the people recognized as being pretty trustworthy and indeed, for a few days, they let her go on but after a while, the continual shouting of the girl became too much Paul so, through the authority given him in the name of Christ, he commands the demon to leave. Paul does it in Jesus’ name, and “at that moment the spirit left her”.

Now, her masters weren’t real happy with this turn of events, for when the demon left, it left her without the ability to tell fortunes their source of income dried up they would have to look elsewhere for funds. Because they got hit in the pocketbook, they decided to strike back, so they grabbed Paul and Silas and dragged them before the city authorities.

Those who do good by drawing men from sin may expect to be reviled as troublers of the city. While they teach men to fear God, to believe in Christ, to forsake sin, and to live godly lives, they will be accused of teaching bad customs.