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The Jailhouse Rock

Acts 16: 22 A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. 23 They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. 24 So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks.25 Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. 26 Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! 27 The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. 28 But Paul shouted to him, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!” 29 The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.” 32 And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household. 33 Even at that hour of the night, the jailer cared for them and washed their wounds. Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized. 34 He brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and he and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God.

Sometimes God speaks in a still small voice and then sometimes God rocks our world with an overwhelming display of power and majesty. However God responds just be encouraged when He responds. When the prophet Elijah was scared and had taken up residence in a cave God came to him and said the following in 1 Kings 19: 9 But the Lord said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10 Elijah replied, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.” 11 “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Keep in mind God is speaking to Elijah and asks him first of all, What are you doing here Elijah? Elijah responds by telling God that the people of Israel have broken their covenant with Him as if God didn't know that. So God tells Elijah to go out and stand before Him on the mountain and the Lord passes by. It is important to recognize where the Lord was not. The Lord was not in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire. God was in the gentle whisper and when Elijah heard it he walked out of the cave. Elijah left what he thought was the security of the cave and stood at the entrance and the voice asked him the same question "Elijah what are you doing here?" Then Elijah was able to speak to God and tell him why he was scared and God ministered to him at the entrance to that cave.

God wasn't what we would call powerful and majestic at the moment because the power of the wind, earthquake, and fire was not an indication of God's presence. It was the gentle whisper that got Elijah to share his fear and discouragement with almighty God.

But there are times when God shows up in a very strong way like He did when Paul and Silas were in jail. The above verses in Acts 16 show God moving in an earthquake and supernaturally taking the chains off of Paul and Silas. What was the result of God moving in such a way? Paul and Silas were freed and the jailer decided he wanted to believe in this God who had the power to free the men in chains. So God moved and they were privy to The Jailhouse Rock!! We can draw great encouragement from God moving in the case of Elijah and Paul. First of all, God still moves. He moved then to help them and He still moves today to help us. Secondly, God moves how He wants to. God was in the gentle whisper in the case of Elijah and He was in the earthquake in the case of Paul. In the case of Elijah the gentle whisper was all that was needed to free Elijah from his depression and fear. In the case of Paul, an earthquake freed him and brought the jailer and his household to a saving faith in Jesus.

God still moves and He is always on point to move whatever is needed to minister His children when we need Him the most. This is Our God! So when you hear the phrase "God will move heaven and earth", it is very true and that is because HE CAN! In Hebrews 12:26 it says Hebrews 12:25 Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from heaven! 26 When God spoke from Mount Sinai his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise: “Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.”27 This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed so that only unshakable things will remain. When God speaks we need to listen and keep in mind that Elijah was not listening to God when he went into the cave and God pulled him out of that cave so he would once again listen to one who had done such incredible things through him. There was much more God wanted to do through Elijah, but Elijah had to be willing to listen to God to know what to do as He served Him. Paul listened to the vision of God when he went to Macedonia and God took care of him all along the way, even breaking him out of prison chains.

No matter how God speaks to us we should first be willing to listen and then let God guide us. We may hear a gentle whisper or we may experience a great flood or earthquake, but when God speaks we need to listen. Our country seems to be ignoring God and it is up to those who know Him to begin listening closely to what He is calling us to do and then do it! Come out of our caves and stand ready for action and know that no one can imprison the Word of God and when they try we may see some Jailhouse Rock!! That is just how our God rolls and I am thankful He is still rolling. Time to listen and time to stand in the mighty power of Jesus Christ. A time is coming when all those things we think are strong and foundational will fall and only God will be standing. Stand with Him and stand in Him. He is our firm foundation.

The Pilgrimage Continues

David Warren

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