Backs Against the Wall
Photo by Hasan Almasi on Unsplash

Acts 16:16–36 ‘About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God…’ (v25)

Paul and Silas have been imprisoned. They haven’t just been thrown into jail; they have been flogged, and put into the inner cell, in the stocks.

There is no earthly way they could escape. The reason for their imprisonment is what has just happened with a female slave.

Obviously afflicted by a demonic spirit, the girl has been following them during their time in Philippi, shouting out truth – yet it doesn’t come from the right source.

Paul commands the demon to leave the girl (v18). While she is now free of the spiritual darkness, it means that her owners can no longer benefit from her ‘gift’, by which they have been making money.

They cause trouble for Paul and consequently he and Silas find themselves locked up. I wonder how we would respond, if we were in their position?

Would we cry, plead with God, feel hopeless? That would be the natural response. But Paul and Silas start praising God.

Their backs are literally against the wall. There is nothing else for them to do but worship. Perhaps they believed God would deliver them, maybe they just worshipped because God is worthy of worship.

But a miracle happens and they are set free – the slave girl has also been set free, but in a different sense.

The imprisonment of darkness has been broken, and people are saved as a result (v34). When we are in darkness and cannot see a way forward, spiritually, emotionally or physically, praising God may not be our first thought. But surely God is the One who frees and saves us.


A Prayer To Make:
‘Lord, thank You for who You are. You are able to save and rescue. You know my situation. You are wonderful, and I love You. I give You glory today. Amen.’

An Action To Take:
Is there a situation in your life where you feel as if your back is against the wall? Do you need to praise God in those circumstances right now?

Scripture To Consider:
Ps. 6:1–10 & 69:1–36; Matt. 14:22–31; Titus 3:3–7

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.