Acts 16:37-38 NKJV But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us openly, uncondemned Romans, and have thrown us into prison. And now do they put us out secretly? No indeed! Let them come themselves and get us out.” (38) And the officers told these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Romans.
Impulsive actions and rash uninformed decisions have a habit of getting people into fearful circumstances. Whether it is buying a used car from a guy on the street without having a mechanic look at it, signing a contract without reading the fine print, or making a big purchase without thoroughly looking at your finances, not taking the time to ask questions and get informed can lead you into some fearful situations.
Here in Philippi, after Paul and Silas had cast a fortune-telling demon out of a slave girl who apparently was very accurate, making her master a lot of money in the business world, they were arrested as trouble makers and accused of trying to stir up obstinacy among the Jews. There was no trial and no questioning, only anger and spite against Paul and Silas, who they perceived to be just regular Jews, who were under the oppression of Rome. They were severely beaten and thrown into jail.
We know the amazing story that happened that night as Paul and Silas worshiped the Lord even while locked in stocks and the flesh on their backs ripped open and wound exposed. While they worshiped the ground began to shake, every door in the prison sprang open and all the chains loosened, freeing all the prisoners in the jail, yet none of them walked out. The jailer was astonished, and he and his entire household became followers of Christ and were water baptized.
The next day those that commissioned the beating and imprisonment of Paul and Silas sent word to have them released as there were no charges that could stick against them, but they would not leave. Paul demanded to face the men that had them beaten without trial because Paul and Silas were both citizens of Rome. The magistrates never considered that Paul and Silas might have been Romans. They never asked about them and only made assumptions about them and the situation. This new revelation and detail sent fear through men as they knew they could now be charged with a serious crime. These men who had condemned Paul and Silas to be brought to their knees being beaten with rods, were now at their feet begging them to please leave town so they wouldn’t be able to press charges against them.
Impulsive, emotional decisions can lead to big regrets accompanied with fear. You can avoid this by asking questions, getting informed, taking time to weigh your options, and give the Lord an opportunity to chime in to. Don’t make half-cocked decisions; it will reduce your regrets and help you Fear Not.