But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe.
Acts 14:19–20, ESV
In Paul, we find how God’s will is not easily thwarted. Paul did not provoke those who wished to stop the proclamation of the Word, but he was faithful to not sway from the Word and continued to speak what God placed in his heart, even if it meant that he would lose his life in the process. Paul didn’t know if he would survive the stoning. Stephen died when he was stoned for his proclamation of the Gospel. There was no guarantee to Paul that he would survive, but that did not prevent him from preaching and teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The point of this story isn’t that God spared him. God can and will do that when it is within His will. Yet, the point is how the Word will, on its own, provoke those who truly hate God. Many haters of God will appear as if they are holy. Those that stoned Paul were religious men. The same was true with Stephen. Paul witnessed the death of Stephen and was happy to hold the cloaks of those responsible. Paul knew the risks, but he also understood the greater danger of refusing to be faithful in His proclamation of God’s Word. His actions weren’t to show how God was protecting him but the importance of preaching and teaching the Word of God to all who would hear and not allowing anything to stop that from occurring.
Let us pray. I thank you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, your dear Son, that you have kept me this night from all harm and danger, and I ask you to protect me this day also from sin and every evil, that in all I do today, I may please you. For into your hands, I commend myself, my body and soul, and all that is mine. Let your holy angel watch over me, that the wicked foe have no power over me. Amen.