Triumphant Joy #6: A Fortune-Telling Slave Girl:
“Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” (Acts 16:16-17).
The Bible teaches us that just as surely as there is a God who is good and has a good plan for your life, there is also a devil who is bad and wants to ruin your life. Jesus said, “The thief (the devil) does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10).
Just as surely as there are good spirit beings – angels – sent by God to help those who will believe in Jesus, the devil also has evil spirits (demons) who torment and harass all people. So there was a little slave girl who was possessed by an evil fortune-telling spirit. Her masters would go into a certain town and book her gigs to make some money. And when Paul came to town preaching Jesus, the evil spirit within this slave girl recognized where his power and authority came from. So everywhere Paul went preaching, this young possessed girl declared, “These men are from God telling us how to be saved!”
“And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour.” (Acts 16:18).
I find it interesting that Luke tells us that Paul got annoyed by this girl. Some of you might think, “Preachers were supposed to be in a good mood all the time!” Wouldn’t that be great if that was true? But I’m thankful that God inspired that point to be put in the Bible, because I get annoyed sometimes, too.
When you’re a Christian, delivering people from demons is easy. Paul simply commanded the demon to leave in the name of Jesus, and the demon left! And I am sure that this little girl was very happy to be free of that demon, but I am sure that her masters were not so happy about that!
“But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities.” (Acts 16:19). Unfortunately, some people have the idea that if you believe in Jesus, life becomes this perfect little blissful thing full of flowers and rainbows and unicorns. Unfortunately, we won’t experience a life free from trouble, trials and temptations until we get to Heaven, and we’re not there yet.
As long as we’re living on the Earth, we’re going to experience suffering. Even though Paul and Silas were faithfully serving God, they were beaten and thrown into jail. Just because God has promised us joy doesn’t mean we won’t experience suffering, trials or temptations! If we didn’t have difficulties in our lives, we wouldn’t need joy because we would be happy. But because life doesn’t always go the way we want it to, it’s good to have the joy of the Lord.
Pastor Chris Jordan