This went on day after day until Paul got so exasperated that he turned and said to the demon within her, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And instantly it left her. Her masters’ hopes of wealth were now shattered, so they grabbed Paul and Silas and dragged them before the authorities at the marketplace. (Acts 16:18-19)
Relate: For verse 6, the NLT translation says demon possessed. The NIV says “a spirit by which she predicted the future” and the KJV says, “possessed with a spirit of divination”. A more literal translation would be “spirit of python” understanding that the python was the snake worshiped by and symbolizing the oracles of Delphi. They were in Greece now. Delphi was on the far side of the Aegean Sea from where they landed and that was probably these businessmen were allowed to keep her. Had they lived in Corinth or Athens, she would most likely have ended up living right there at Delphi.
The NLT says their “hopes of wealth were shattered.” The word hope actually means “absolute certainty of future good.” This isn’t, “we’re down by ten points late in the fourth quarter, I hope we can come back and win” hope. This is, “By this hope we are saved, Romans 8:24” kind of hope. The word for wealth means income from work. So this is confidence in income. It is job security.
By casting out this demon, Paul and Silas set a girl free from spiritual bondage. But that is not what those around saw. They saw him attack their fine tradition and take away their job security. I’m pretty sure the businessmen and the crowd there at Philippi reacted the same exact way most people throughout the western world would react.
React: Am I more concerned with tradition, income, and security than I am with freedom? The coffee I drank this morning, how did it get to me so cheaply? What is its true price? If you’re engaged or married, look at that diamond. How did it from the ground to you? What is its story? Do we know? Do we care? The gas we put in our car… how much turmoil in our world hinges on the demand for this stuff?
We have a fine tradition of getting whatever we want, whenever we want it, for as cheaply as possible. But price should not be measured by dollars and coins. Businessmen and whoever cared to pay, were banking their future on the words this girl would speak. It was a win, win. The girls owners were making a tidy sum and those hearing their fortunes were getting good advice/predictions too. But it wasn’t a win for that slave. I get it cheap. The store makes money. We both win. Who is the loser in this picture? Do I care enough to find out?
God, don’t let me ever grow comfortable in my convenience. Don’t let me be so quick to grow angry when that convenience is torn from me. Help me to be aware of the cost to others my lifestyle and income are built on. If there are changes I need to make, give me the courage and discipline to make them. Help me to be about bringing Your freedom, not just in the forever-after but also in the here and now.