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16 Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” 18 And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour.

 

Paul and Silas were imprisoned in Philippi for not following the “customs” of the Romans (Acts 16:16-24).

16:16

Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling.

A slave girl demonically possessed could predict the future. The word “divination” is the Greek word puthon, which means python. The python was the symbol of the Delphic oracle representing Apollo. Anyone who possessed the ability of foretelling the future was deemed to be led by the python. This word came from the mythological serpent that lived at Pytho beneath Mount Parnassus. This term referred to the god of divination in Greek mythology. The slave girl, an emissary of the devil, earned income from her owners because of her divination ability.

16:17

This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.”

Paul did not want a wild girl following his team, even though what she said was true about the team. The demon-possessed girl spoke what was true about Paul’s team, making people think she was one of them. It is always dangerous when apostasy attempts to align itself with truth.

The first-person narrative “we” stops at verse 17 and does not reappear until Acts 20:6.

16:18

And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour.

The demon-possessed girl followed Paul for “many days,” but the apostle commanded the python “spirit” residing in her to come out. The demon came out right away. Apostles had the right to cast out demons (Mark 3:15; 2 Co 12:12), confirming that they had the gift of apostleship.

PRINCIPLE:

 When God begins to work, Satan’s emissaries launch their attack.

APPLICATION:

The devil will attempt to penetrate any ministry that is reaching people for Christ and building the saints. The clash of light and darkness will occur with every church where God is working. This especially happens when people go “to prayer” (Acts 16:16).

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