Day 128: A Self-Destructive Democracy

Acts 21:26-30 :

Then Paul took the men, and the next day, purified himself and went with them into the temple, declaring the fulfillment of the days of purification, until the offering was offered for every one of them. When the seven days were almost completed, the Jews from Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the multitude and laid hands on him, crying out, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against the people, and the law, and this place. Moreover, he also brought Greeks into the temple, and has defiled this holy place!” For they had seen Trophimus, the Ephesian, with him in the city, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple.

All the city was moved, and the people ran together. They seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple. Immediately the doors were shut.

It is clear that Paul did everything he could to comply with the requirements of the Jews without abandoning what He held to be true. The people, however, were so stirred up by lies that a very small, inaccurate, rumor spiraled into an all out attack on Paul.

What a horrible time it must have been to live in Jerusalem. It was so full of lies that just the smallest rumor could cause a mob to start dragging people around and beating them.

It is clear to me that democracy is ruined in situations like these. The people at the temple “voted” with their feet and they all decided to sin together as an innocent man was being mistreated. This leads me to realize that democracy depends on a wide-spread knowledge of the truth and a willingness to abide by the law of God.

When a good people like the Jews decide to avoid their own laws and start to harm people without a trial, the whole society is close to collapse. It happened that not too long after these times, Jerusalem was destroyed.

This is a serious thing for us to consider. We must maintain law and order in our lives. God does not call us to anarchy. A free democracy is a privilege and a responsibility that must always be bounded by the law of the God of the Bible or else it can become destructive to itself.