“I Am With You.” (Acts 18:1-4)

Do not be afraid. Keep on speaking.

"I Am With You."

“Because he was a tentmaker, as they were, Paul stayed and worked with Aquila and Priscilla. Acts 18:4 (Acts 18:1-4)

While Silas and Tim remained in Berea, Saul Paul set out fer Athens. When he could stand it no longer, fer he worried ’bout them he left in Thessalonica, he instructed Tim ter head back that way and check on tha disciples left behind (1 Thessalonians 3:1-2).  Soon as Saul Paul knowed Tim would take care of tha flock, he set off fer Corinth, which be but ah short hike down tha road.

While in Corinth he met ah pair of Christian Jews named Aquila, and his wife Priscilla. Because Claudius had tossed all Christian Jews out of Rome, tha couple set up shop in Corinth ter work. Since Saul Paul also be a tentmaker, tha couple took him in and no doubt allowed him ter work along with ’em in thar trade (Acts 18:1-4).  As at other times trouble found Saul Paul, this time in tha form of some Jews who treated him harshly. (Acts 18:6).

Think on this a wee little bit: by this point Saul Paul may ‘ave been traveling alone, fer it not be clear that even Luke whar with him. By this time Saul Paul had also endured much fer tha sake of tha good spiel. Ever place he stopped he faced obstacles. Why even tha Holy Ghost of Truth seemed ter be agin Saul Paul at times, fer Skip’s Spirit prevented him from preaching in tha province of Asia and later would not allow him ter enter Bithynia (Acts 16:6-7).

In Philippi ah crowd attack Saul Paul and Silas. Fer thar trouble tha magistrate ordered tha pair ter be stripped and beaten with rods (Acts 16:22).

Once they whar severely flogged, tha pair whar thrown in ter prison, and tha jailer commanded ter guard ’em carefully (Acts 16:23). After ‘aving suffered a public beaten and denied ah trial, they whar kicked out of Philippi.

Even being in tha company of Saul Paul brought persecution ter his friends and companions. In Thessalonica jealous Jews rounded up some bad characters, formed ah mob, and started ah riot in tha city ter protest Saul Paul’s message. They rushed ter Jason’s house in search of Paul and Silas but when they did not find tha pair, they dragged Jason and some other believers before tha city officials, shouting: “These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here.” Tha officials made Jason and tha others post bond and let them go (Acts 17:5-9).  

When some of these same jealous Jews from Thessalonica learned that Saul Paul whar preaching Skipper’s words in Berea, they went thar, agitating the crowds and stirring them up (Acts 17:13). Saul Paul’s mates thought it best ter send him away, at least as far as Athens.

Making up his mind ter devote himself exclusively ter preaching tha good spiel only ter tha Gentiles, he left tha synagogue of Athens and went next door ter tha house of Titus Justus. It whar at this point an usual visitor paid  Saul Paul ah visit.

One night Skipper’s Sun said ter Saul Paul in ah vision, “Do not be afraid. Keep on speaking. Do not be silent. Because I have many people in this city, no one is going to attack and harm you. I am with you.”

“I am with you . . . ” No doubt Saul Paul found comfort in knowing tha Sun whar by his side. No doubt he also thought back ter Skip’s Code of Conduct and all tha other times Skipper promised ter stand with those who obeyed his words.

“I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you (Genesis 26:24).

“I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you (Genesis 28:15).”

“I am with you as I was with Moses (Joshua 3:7).”

“Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God (Isaiah 41:10).”

“Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you (Jeremiah 1:8).”

“I am with you,” the Lord said to his people (Haggai 1:13).

“I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:20).”

Ah good many times we think obeying Skip’s call ter teach and preach ‘ill mean he clears a wide path fer us, but if we consider tha life of tha Sun while he be on earth, tha prophets of old, and patriarchs of our faith, we ‘ill come ter understand that working as crew fer Skip be hard and dangerous work. Not many should take up such a cause without first considering tha price they ‘ill have ter pay. Tha Sun had warned Saul Paul that he would face gales and worse, so when he whar near ’bout at his wits end, tha Sun clapped him on tha back and give him ah kind word of encouragement. 

Ter day such words of encouragement ‘ill often come from other crew: fellers and lasses who know tha trails of sailing aboard Skip’s vessel. If ya see folks struggling ter lift thar head, make it yer task ter offer ah kind word of encouragement, ah place ter stay, ah helping hand. Be ah Priscilla and Aquila, ah Silas and Tim, ah Barnabas and John Mark. 

Taking comfort in knowing that tha Sun be right by his side, Saul Paul stayed in Corinth fer a year and a half, teaching all tha words of Skipper and his Sun. May we also find strength through Skip’s Holy Ghost of Truth ter persevere and continue living tha good spiel be fer others.