When I was a child at school, they had remedial classes for the children who did not achieve a certain standard in a particular subject. The intention was three fold.
(i) Punishment … most children who landed up in the remedial class after school could do better but would not.
(ii) Correction … this class carried the idea of correcting the child’s behavior and performance.
(iii) Cure … The intention of the punishment and correction was to cure the problem and help the child do better regarding attitude, behavior and achievement.
Ac 13:9 Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, 10 “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? 11 Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind, and for a time you will be unable to see the light of the sun.” Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand. 12 When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.
1) God left the door open for Elymas to repent because … “for a time” meant that his punishment would end and he might repent. Sadly, we do not know whether he did. Most likely, he did not. When God disciplines a person it ought to be seen as remedial action to lead that person to salvation. When suffering under the pressures of punishment, the pain, hardship, confusion, lost-ness and depression ought to lead the “spiritual delinquent” person to repent, seek the Lord and turn him or herself over to God for mercy and help. Although this seldom happens, I must say that the intelligent person shall consider the eternal costs and chose God’s way.
2) The remedial action was a “mist” that caused darkness. This was real blindness. The word for “mist” was a medical word associated with the dimming of the eyes due to either cataracts or some other eye disease. This shows the gravity of the temporal blindness Elymas suffered. He could not even see sufficiently to walk by himself. He needed assistance. We are not talk whether he received any though. Before we get to the real reason for this “mist”, making him blind, we need to consider whether we are struggling with spiritual blindness. There are different levels to spiritual cataracts. Here are two …
(1) A Christian in sin. Living in some form of willful, persistent, rebellious sin results in a spiritual blindness that might result is some for a physical illness. God has His way of disciplining one of His rebel children. He might keep such a person in a captivity where He slowly applies pressure that grows and intensifies until He brings you to repentance!
(2) A non-Christian in sin. Maybe you are a non-Christian who has heard the Gospel many times. God wants your soul … and the devil also wants it! God has issued a call on your life yet you want to live away from God because the attraction of this world is far too precious to give up. The devil encourages you to live in debauchery, rejecting God. Yet God wants you because He has called you and want you saved. That is His will for you.
You duck and dive. You hide and then run. You try to be a Jonah … yet your running will be short lived because God will start to apply pressure. He shortens the reigns of freedom. He brings you to a place where the pleasures you enjoyed are pleasure-less. He lets you see things that you once loved having … now carrying no meaning. As the leash shortens, so life becomes less fulfilling and depression sets in. Suddenly you realize you have nothing because like Solomon every possession and delight is meaningless because God is not in those things. You become more and more unhappy, more and more depressed, more and more confused resulting in you groveling in self-pity and despair … until … yes … until you stop and surrender to Jesus as Lord. Then and only then God removes the barnacles from your eyes as He did with Saul. God’s remedial action might seem harsh, yet its purpose is to lead one to Him … or back to him. Friend, where are you now? Saturated in spiritual mist or do you have spiritual 20/20 vision?
3) God’s remedial punishment upon Elymas was to interrupt his sorcery! Remember God does not work miracles for one’s personal benefit. He has a purpose each time. In blinding Elymas, Elymas could no longer pretend to have magical powers to foresee the future! No longer was he able to bring his evil mystical powers into action to cast spiritual mist over his audience … and in this case his audience was the proconsul! He was a counselor, guiding Sergius Paulus in his decision making. Now the “ruler” of the Island saw Elymas for who he was … a fake! May it not be like this in your Church … sometimes God stops a person, be it a pastor, council member, children or youth leader from ministry because they are not authentic or have lost the plot. Pray this does not happen. With Elymas out of the way, the proconsul was able to hear Paul without any disruption. This is what we need to be praying for … that God will remove the obstacles that hinder Gospel ministry!
4) God’s remedial action included a miracle.
Ac 13:12 When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.
Sergius Paulus did two things …
(a) He saw what happened to Elymas. His sight spoke a story which was him as proconsul having been hoodwinked by a false prophet spinning stories and prophecies to suit his evil intentions. This would have included holding the Islanders in spiritual bondage!
(b) He believed the Gospel. He became aware that what Elymas had to say was evil yet what Paul had to say was Truth. The teaching of the Lord Jesus was what really captivated him leading to faith for himself and this opened the Island to the Gospel! Pray that our political leaders will see and hear the True Gospel explained and turn from their evil ways to faith in Jesus Christ. Imagine a country with a born again leader!
Father, we pray for our political leaders. Bring them under the sphere of the Gospel and salvation. Amen.