they went to the chief priests and elders and said, “we have strictly bound ourselves by an oath to taste no food till we have killed paul. now therefore you, along with the council, give notice to the tribune to bring him down to you, as though you were going to determine his case more exactly. and we are ready to kill him before he comes near.” now the son of paul’s sister heard of their ambush, so he went and entered the barracks and told paul. paul called one of the centurions and said, “take this young man to the tribune, for he has something to tell him.” so he took him and brought him to the tribune and said, “paul the prisoner called me and asked me to bring this young man to you, as he has something to say to you.” the tribune took him by the hand, and going aside asked him privately, “what is it that you have to tell me?” and he said, “the jews have agreed to ask you to bring paul down to the council tomorrow, as though they were going to inquire somewhat more closely about him. but do not be persuaded by them, for more than forty of their men are lying in ambush for him, who have bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink till they have killed him. and now they are ready, waiting for your consent.” so the tribune dismissed the young man, charging him, “tell no one that you have informed me of these things.” [acts 23:14-22]


a plot to kill.


we may never be in a dramatic situation like this, wrongly accused, thrown in prison, trial after trial, sworn to be murdered and kept under state protection. but as believers, everything we love and hold dear in the work of Christ and the ways of the Father are under attack daily by the world, by our enemy, and even by our own earthly flesh.

our flesh tells us we should have what we want, that earthly things will satisfy, that we are in the right, and often that we can have one foot in earthly indulgence while the other stays clean in the light of the narrow path. the world says we are naive, narrow-minded, hateful, judgmental, and silly. the enemy says we are weak, fake, undeserving, unforgivable, or the opposite, strong on our own, sufficient in ourselves, completely deserving, and easily forgivable. 

in light of this plot to kill, what are we to do?


cling to Christ! – 

set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. when Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. [colossians 3:2-4] 

while i was with them, i kept them in your name, which you have given me. i have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the scripture might be fulfilled. [john 17:12]


be on guard! – 

be sober-minded; be watchful. your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. [1 peter 5:8

keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. [1 timothy 4:16]

submit yourselves therefore to God. resist the devil, and he will flee from you. [james 4:7]


trust God! – 

but the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. [2 thessalonians 3:3]

now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. he who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. [1 thessalonians 5:23-25]

your life is hidden with Christ! sealed under his protection! seek him daily, and cling to him closely, he is your sure salvation. follow his ways, and hide his word in your heart. his Spirit will lead you in the light, and keep you from darkness until you stand in his presence in the day of Christ, looking into the face of Jesus who has made the way for you. 


~ arwen eastman