"And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he said this, he fell asleep. And Saul was consenting unto his death" Acts. 7:58-8:1.Saul was a bad guy originally. We first hear of him as he is consenting unto Stephens death. That word consenting is the Greek word - syneudokeō - which literally means:
"And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and SLAUGHTER against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the High priest, and desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem." Acts 9:1-2.
1) to be pleased together with, to approve together (with others)
2) to be pleased at the same time with, consent, agree to
a) to applaud
Paul basically clapped his hands in pleasure at the death of Stephen. BUT we know that Paul repented and the Lord Jesus Himself witnessed to Paul on the road to Damascus. I'm only bringing it up for the context of what I'm going to talk about next:
"And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live." Act 28:3-5No doubt.
This was an orchestrated, targeted attack from the adversary with a view to assassinate Paul. The viper (the agent of satan) came out of no-where and latched onto Paul's hand and started pumping lethal poison into his body. This was a set up.Because the first thing the locals do, instead of running up to him and saying, "Are you hurt? Are you ok?" just assume that Paul must be a murderer and suffering the consequences of his own sin. But how did Paul react?
"And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm." Acts 28:5
Paul shook it off. Why? Because Paul knew his position in Christ. He knew that he was no longer that man consenting unto the death of Stephen. He knew he had been washed by the blood of Christ and that those past sins were forgiven. He recognized it as an attack by Satan and understood that Satan had no authority over him. Satan had no right to attack Paul and Paul knew it and so he was able to shake it off.
About a month ago I posted a dream that I had called The Nightmares of Children Part 2At the time I believed the dream was from the Lord showing me I had an open door to sin in my mind. Later when I told a friend the dream, she said, "The Lord doesn't remind us of old sins, he doesn't remember our old sins," I gasped! She was right, that dream was an attack by the adversary! There was no open door to sin in my mind, it was Satan showing me an open door and trying to entice me to go back through it, because Satan had me right where he wanted me while I was engaging in that activity. I'm sure he would love for me to go back down that road.
But I had assumed because it was a dream, that it was from the Lord. The devil loves to attack us in our sleep. The Lord showed me why it is so important to test the spirits whether they be of the Lord.
Dear Heavenly Father, help me to be a better believer, help me to remember your promises and to shake it off when the devil attacks. In the name of Yeshua, Jesus Christ. Amen.