Saul, Stopped

Opening Prayer

God, open my eyes to see the truth of what You want me to see in Your Word today.

Read Acts 9:1–9

Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. 6 “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

7 The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 8 Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9 For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.

Reflect

Think of a moment in your life when you were stopped short. What did God do at that moment that changed everything?

Saul was livid with the followers of Jesus. They called themselves “the Way,” which was provocative in itself, as if their “way” was the only way to God. Stephen’s death by stoning was evidently no more than he deserved, and Saul supported it (Acts 8:1). In his zeal, Saul went further than most by seeking out the runaway believers to bring them back to Jerusalem to face, presumably, a similar fate to Stephen. But he was stopped in his tracks.
In a whirlwind of confusion, he lost the use of his limbs, heard a voice and was blinded by light—and this was not hysteria or a nervous collapse. Others with him saw it happen (7). Jesus spoke to Saul, and went straight to the heart of the matter. By persecuting the followers of the Way, Saul was persecuting Jesus himself (4,5).
God stopped him. But notice this—in the trauma of that hard moment God provided practical care for Saul and a space to learn what it meant (6,9).

Apply

Is there a difficult situation in your life that seems like a roadblock? How could God be using it as a life-changing experience?

Closing prayer

Lord God, sometimes we are brought up short and it is hard to see why. Thank You that You work Your purposes out.

Terry Schneider