Have Mercy On Me and Hear My Prayer

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1 CHRONICLES 2:18-4:4 | ACTS 24:1-27 | PSALM 4:1-8 | PROVERBS 18:16-18

These next few chapters continue with the chronological genealogical records of the tribes of Jacob, i.e., Israel.  There is some focus on the tribe of Judah from where the line of David came forth.

Turning next to our story of Paul, we find that there is a trial of sorts underway with the Governor Felix presiding. 

The Jewish delegation headed by the high priest, Ananias, has come to personally level charges against Paul, and this is his opening statement:  5 “We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect 6 and even tried to desecrate the temple; so we seized him. [7] 8 By examining him yourself you will be able to learn the truth about all these charges we are bringing against him.” 

The trouble-making that Ananias is referring to is concerning Paul’s preaching about Jesus being the Messiah, his death on the cross, and his resurrection.  This belief was gaining currency among some as “The Way,” while it was viewed by the Sanhedrin as blasphemy.  Therefore, it was essentially on charges of blasphemy that Paul had been arrested, imprisoned, and was now being tried.

Paul’s response to Felix and the others is this: “I know that for a number of years you have been a judge over this nation; so I gladly make my defense. 11 You can easily verify that no more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12 My accusers did not find me arguing with anyone at the temple, or stirring up a crowd in the synagogues or anywhere else in the city. 13 And they cannot prove to you the charges they are now making against me. 14 However, I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets, 15 and I have the same hope in God as these men themselves have, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. 16 So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man. 17 “After an absence of several years, I came to Jerusalem to bring my people gifts for the poor and to present offerings. 18 I was ceremonially clean when they found me in the temple courts doing this. There was no crowd with me, nor was I involved in any disturbance. 19 But there are some Jews from the province of Asia, who ought to be here before you and bring charges if they have anything against me. 20 Or these who are here should state what crime they found in me when I stood before the Sanhedrin— 21 unless it was this one thing I shouted as I stood in their presence: ‘It is concerning the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you today.’”

The text tells us that despite this clear defense that Paul offers, Felix allows Paul’s imprisonment to continue for a period of two years, and he leaves office with Paul still inside prison.  It is to be seen how and when Paul might be released, if at all.

Turning now to our reading of the psalms, we find one that David has penned with all the emotion of a man who is in need of help beyond that which any mortal man can offer.  His plaintive cries in the opening verse are ones that are timeless:

1 Answer me when I call to you,
my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress;
have mercy on me and hear my prayer.

But by the end of the psalm, David seems to be at peace in the knowledge that God will indeed take care of things.  The closing verse of this psalm is as follows:

8 In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, LORD,
make me dwell in safety.

Finally, one verse from the book of Proverbs for which we have already seen an illustration in the passage above concerning Paul:

17 In a lawsuit the first to speak seems right,
until someone comes forward and cross-examines.

2 thoughts on “Have Mercy On Me and Hear My Prayer

  1. I remember learning that Drusilla, Felix’ “wife,” was the daughter of one of the Herods and apparently influenced the Roman governor in much the same way that another Herod’s wife did in the gospel account of John the Baptist’s beheading: i.e., not in a positive way. And it also is somewhat strange that the two Roman governors named here are Felix (“happy”) and Festus (“festive”), even though neither really inspires such feelings among readers of Acts. On the other hand, Paul’s conduct and speech again are inspiring. It never ceases to amaze me how he was able to not only follow “the Way” in spite of so much lethal opposition but really was the trailblazer of “the Way,” carving it somehow amidst all the confusion of the time.

    1. Both excellent observations. Interesting though, how women influence their men even in those ancient times.

      As for Paul’s resolve to spread the good news of the gospel, also known as The Way, he was indeed a trailblazer, and such dedication could not have come about without a divine conviction. I wonder though, why he was never married. Might a wife have come in his way…? I would think not because he in fact had friends who were couples and had other female friends.

      Regards, Simmi D. Isaac (Sent from my iPhone)

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