MERCHANTS AND MOBS
But the Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason's house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd.
The next two groups of external tactics Satan used in the New Testament are merchants and mobs. Merchants or businessmen represent the economic establishment and are often opposed to Christians purely because Christians are a threat to their business.
The two clearest examples of opposition from businessmen in scripture are when Paul visits Philippi and later Ephesus (Acts 16 and 19). In Philippi, Paul and Silas ended up in jail because of the actions of the owners of a demon-possessed slave girl who was healed. Seeing their source of income disappearing because of her conversion, her owners pressed a false case against Paul, and had him jailed for “disturbing the peace.” But the Scripture makes clear their economic motive, “when her owners saw that their hope of making money was gone…” (Acts 16:19).
Then when Paul gets to Ephesus the impact of his preaching is so great it causes the former members of the Artemis cult to hold a bonfire of their trinkets and shrines. A shop steward called Demetrius, on behalf of the silversmiths of the town, figures anything that reduces the appeal of the temple of Artemis is going to be bad for business. He stirs up a riot and Paul has to hurry out of the city.
Mobs play a major role in persecution, often when an elite group cannot induce the government to do their dirty work for them. Mobs are easily manipulated. They can be believers swayed by the heady rhetoric of clerics, or ruffians ready to commit grievous bodily harm for the sake of money and excitement.
Christians in Pakistan and Indonesia face the constant threat of annihilation of their property by mobs. A news agency journalist said, “I am amazed at how quickly a mob can get going in Pakistan. It just takes three phrases from a mullah at Friday prayers, and five minutes later thousands are streaming out into the streets bent on inflicting injury or even killing Christians.”
RESPONSE: Our enemy, Satan, uses every tactic possible to come against those in the kingdom of God.
PRAYER: Pray for Christians in areas noted above that they will be protected from Satan’s arrows.
Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.