Day 114: God Threatens the Union

Acts 19:22-28 :

Having sent into Macedonia two of those who served him, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while. About that time there arose no small stir concerning the Way. For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the craftsmen, whom he gathered together, with the workmen of like occupation, and said, “Sirs, you know that by this business we have our wealth. You see and hear, that not at Ephesus alone, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away many people, saying that they are no gods, that are made with hands. Not only is there danger that this our trade come into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be counted as nothing, and her majesty destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worships.”

When they heard this they were filled with anger, and cried out, saying, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”

I think that this story makes it clear as to why God decided to change the languages of people who refused to accept Him as the only true God back in Genesis. When people get together without God, they are capable of leading each other down a path of evil in a very powerful way.

It is interesting that what Luke describes is a kind of labor union of idol makers. The head of the union, Demetrius, realized that what the Christians were saying was harming their business. He probably realized that just like all those magic books became worthless because of Christianity, so would the objects of worshiped that they sold. Basically, they were worried about their money. They probably didn’t realize that they were performing no good for the people but instead taking their money by charging them for religious objects that were not really gods and held no power. They provided no more advantage to the people other than the fact that they were a form of art.

So, they religiously started praising the gods their own hands had made. Now they may have actually believed that Artemis was real but as the passage goes on, we learn just how confused the people were because of these false ideas. It appears to me that Satan knew how to mix the people’s desire for security and riches with the false idea that somehow it came from some object of silver. Isn’t that how Satan still works? He convinces man that there is value in things that have none.

We also need to be aware that when mankind gets “unionized” without God as the supreme authority, it can turn into an ugly, oppressive force that deceives, extorts and destroys.