In The Word
Read Acts 14:1–12
Acceptance and Opposition
14 In Iconium they entered the synagogue of the Jews together, and spoke in such a manner that a large number of people believed, both of Jews and of Greeks. 2 But the Jews who disbelieved stirred up the minds of the Gentiles and embittered them against the brethren. 3 Therefore they spent a long time there speaking boldly with reliance upon the Lord, who was testifying to the word of His grace, granting that signs and wonders be done by their hands. 4 But the people of the city were divided; and some sided with the Jews, and some with the apostles. 5 And when an attempt was made by both the Gentiles and the Jews with their rulers, to mistreat and to stone them, 6 they became aware of it and fled to the cities of Lycaonia, Lystra and Derbe, and the surrounding region; 7 and there they continued to preach the gospel.
8 At Lystra a man was sitting who had no strength in his feet, lame from his mother’s womb, who had never walked. 9 This man was listening to Paul as he spoke, who, when he had fixed his gaze on him and had seen that he had faith to be made well, 10 said with a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he leaped up and began to walk. 11 When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they raised their voice, saying in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have become like men and have come down to us.” 12 And they began calling Barnabas, Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker.
New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
Walking In The Word
Continuing on their missionary journey, Paul and Barnabas arrived in Iconium. They stayed there a long time preaching, showing signs and wonders. Many in the town believed. However, as was common, the Jews stirred up trouble for them. The Jews were so mad, they devised a plan to stone them. Paul and Barnabas were made aware of the plan and fled. They continued on to Lycaonia where they were used mightily.
Paul saw the importance to flee rather than fight. As we can see from the totality of Paul’s writings, it was not because he feared for his life. It was because he was on a mission. He never lost focus of what he was doing. There is certainly a time to stand your ground. But there is also a time to flee.
I once attended a Bible study where an argument arose concerning a scripture. The argument grew so intense that one of the men got up, started screaming at another man, and threw his Bible across the room. Even if what he was screaming was correct, the angry man showed himself to be very foolish that night by his outburst (Proverbs 14:29). As Christians, it is very important to share our faith, but not at the expense of our testimony. Paul later warns us to not be involved in foolish arguments that lead to strife (2 Timothy 2:23).
If someone does not receive your testimony, it’s alright to flee. There is always a place right up the road where you can be used mightily.