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Friday, December 9, 2016

Making Assumptions (Acts 21:29)

"For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian with him in the city, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple" (emphasis added).

At times I have been wrong about a person or situation because I made assumptions based upon limited information. Had I kept my assumption to myself only I would have been affected. Much trouble can be avoided if we'll wait just a bit longer for more information or ask more intelligent questions before jumping to a conclusion. Making hasty decisions without enough information negatively effects everyone involved.

In Paul's case, it causes a riot.

Some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul in the temple and assumed that he had brought a Greek follower of Jesus into the temple. So, they stir up the people which leads to Paul's arrest.

How do people get caught up in making assumptions?
  • They think they stand for a noble cause (Keeping the temple undefiled and protecting the people from false teaching)
  • They have a personal agenda so they don't wait for all of the facts (they see themselves as protectors of their religion)
  • They use the situation to bring attention to themselves (they were Jews from Asia visiting Jerusalem)
Making assumptions and then communicating those assumptions to others have far reaching repercussions for ourselves and for others. Making an assumption about others sins against them by causing harm to their person, their family and their reputation. And, making an assumption about someone or a situation sins against the Lord--only God has all the information.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Acts 21:1-23:11
  • What could have easily dissuaded Paul from continuing his trip to Jerusalem?
  • What does this tell you about the counsel of others? About Paul's relationship with the Lord?
  • Describe Paul's relationship with the Jerusalem elders.
  • What problem does Paul's arrival in Jerusalem cause?
  • What actually caused or stirred up a mob to react violently?
  • Why is making an assumption so dangerous?
  • Describe Paul's defense.
  • What does Paul say that drives the crowd to shouting?
  • What does Paul say that sets the Pharisees and the Sadducees against one another?
  • How does the Lord encourage Paul?
Turning truth into prayer
Ask the Lord to reveal to you where you rely more on the counsel of your friends than on the Lord's leading in your life.