Some meaty Bible nuggets are stated in a way in which they can be easily missed! In Acts 19:18-20 we have such a case. The setting is Ephesus and the timing is when Paul was there. Ephesus was a stronghold for both sorcery and Artemis idolatry. After the seven sons of Sceva incident, involving a demon possessed man, we read:
Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done. A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power. (Acts 19:18-20)
It says the calculated value of the scrolls came to fifty thousand drachmas! That is a figure which can easily escape us. Since one drachma is estimated to be equal to one denarius, a day’s wage (Mt. 20:2), then in our hour it could be estimated that one drachma would be equal to $100. If we multiply that times 50,000, the result is $5,000,000! Ponder that figure and remember those sorcery books went up in smoke, but why?
Don’t Stumble Another Into Sin
Unlike multitudes of ministers in our day, Paul had those witchcraft books, valued at 50,000 drachmas ($5,000,000), burned! Why? If they were sold the money could have been used to spread the gospel, feed the poor Christians, etc. While that is fact, it is also true that those witchcraft books would have spiritually ensnared precious souls they had been sold to. See Luke 17:1-3. Because of that, the books worth $5,000,000 were rightly burned so no one else could be hurt by the material therein contained. Just throwing them away wasn’t good enough. They needed to be burned so that no one could read them.
Too Many In Our Day
I can imagine how many professing Christians in our hour, if placed in that same situation as Paul, would have wrongly sold the witchcraft books to get their hands on the money! Perhaps they would have tried to justify their actions with excuses like the following:
- People will buy these kinds of witchcraft books from someone anyway. It might as well be us, so we can then use the money for God’s kingdom.
- This is the answer to my hundredfold return promise I have been believing God for. So, yes, let’s quickly sell those witchcraft books so I can get my hands on the money. I need a new private jet for my ministry.
- We can always confess our sin of selling these witchcraft books to others after we get the $5,000,000, so let’s do it quick! That is too much money to pass up! We can always repent later.
- We’re under grace not law, so let’s sell these valuable books and use the money for the Lord’s work. Time is wasting.
- As Charles Stanley would say, our future sins are all already forgiven. With $5,000,000 we can buy that new church building with the high steeple, stained glass windows and padded pews we always wanted.
Money has always been a temptation, but those walking in the fear of God have resisted the devil! Paul is a shining example here. Dear reader, if you were in Paul’s situation, would you have done the same so others would not be hurt spiritually? If not, then you need to change! God bless you.