Fine Arts Bible Study 9

Scenario 1: You have been a musician for quite some time, and you’ve formed a few bands over the years. The one you are in now is quite good and you have heard nothing but praise about your songs and music. One day, while shopping for new strings in Guitar Center, you see a sweet instrument and decide to ask to play it. It’s way out of your price range, but you try it out anyway. As you are playing, a man taps you on your shoulder and introduces himself as an employee of a record label. He thinks you are a good player and wants to know if you are in a band. As you converse with this person, you explain that you are, and you just happen to have a copy of your band’s demo CD in the car, which you retrieve and give to him. He promises to listen to it and gives you his business card with both his office and personal cell phone numbers on it.

Scenario 2: You have acted in various plays since middle school. Now that you’re out of school, you mostly act in an average of one show a year in community theater. Since you have to hold down a job, you figure that theater is a fun hobby, a nice outlet. Still, when a friend gives you information about an open casting call for a major commercial, you decide to give it a try. On the day of the audition, as expected, there are hundreds of people vying for two open roles in the commercial. You don’t expect much, but if you do end up getting the part, the extra money will be nice. So, you give it your all and you actually get called back for a second audition. At the callback, you see the producer and some other bigwigs for the commercial, but you also notice that a famous director is sitting with them taking notes. You do a great job and hope you nail it. After the audition is over, you chat with another person who says that the famous director was sitting in on the auditions to find new talent for an upcoming movie. Well, this little audition your friend talked you into might turn out to be your big break after all.

Scenario 3: People have always said you have artistic talent, and two years ago you even had your own gallery show. Your work is somewhat controversial because you paint pictures depicting your experiences as an immigrant in the United States. You sell a piece here and there and you make some money off of your art, but you realize that earning a decent income from your artwork alone is probably a pipe dream. That is why you almost faint the day you get a call from a person identifying herself as Oprah’s producer. She tells you that Oprah is very impressed with your work and even owns one of your paintings. She wants you to appear as an expert on an upcoming show about immigration, and she wants you to bring some of your art that might be used during the show.

What do these three scenarios have in common? The person might be on the verge of a big break.

In the Bible, a big break of a different kind happened, but the reaction to it was quite different than the way you or I might react.

Read Acts 16:16-40:

16-18 One day, on our way to the place of prayer, a slave girl ran into us. She was a psychic and, with her fortunetelling, made a lot of money for the people who owned her. She started following Paul around, calling everyone's attention to us by yelling out, "These men are working for the Most High God. They're laying out the road of salvation for you!" She did this for a number of days until Paul, finally fed up with her, turned and commanded the spirit that possessed her, "Out! In the name of Jesus Christ, get out of her!" And it was gone, just like that.
19-22 When her owners saw that their lucrative little business was suddenly bankrupt, they went after Paul and Silas, roughed them up and dragged them into the market square. Then the police arrested them and pulled them into a court with the accusation, "These men are disturbing the peace—dangerous Jewish agitators subverting our Roman law and order." By this time the crowd had turned into a restless mob out for blood.
22-24 The judges went along with the mob, had Paul and Silas's clothes ripped off and ordered a public beating. After beating them black-and-blue, they threw them into jail, telling the jailkeeper to put them under heavy guard so there would be no chance of escape. He did just that—threw them into the maximum security cell in the jail and clamped leg irons on them.
25-26 Along about midnight, Paul and Silas were at prayer and singing a robust hymn to God. The other prisoners couldn't believe their ears. Then, without warning, a huge earthquake! The jailhouse tottered, every door flew open, all the prisoners were loose.
27-28 Startled from sleep, the jailer saw all the doors swinging loose on their hinges. Assuming that all the prisoners had escaped, he pulled out his sword and was about to do himself in, figuring he was as good as dead anyway, when Paul stopped him: "Don't do that! We're all still here! Nobody's run away!"
29-31 The jailer got a torch and ran inside. Badly shaken, he collapsed in front of Paul and Silas. He led them out of the jail and asked, "Sirs, what do I have to do to be saved, to really live?" They said, "Put your entire trust in the Master Jesus. Then you'll live as you were meant to live—and everyone in your house included!"
32-34 They went on to spell out in detail the story of the Master—the entire family got in on this part. They never did get to bed that night. The jailer made them feel at home, dressed their wounds, and then—he couldn't wait till morning!—was baptized, he and everyone in his family. There in his home, he had food set out for a festive meal. It was a night to remember: He and his entire family had put their trust in God; everyone in the house was in on the celebration.
35-36 At daybreak, the court judges sent officers with the instructions, "Release these men." The jailer gave Paul the message, "The judges sent word that you're free to go on your way. Congratulations! Go in peace!"
37 But Paul wouldn't budge. He told the officers, "They beat us up in public and threw us in jail, Roman citizens in good standing! And now they want to get us out of the way on the sly without anyone knowing? Nothing doing! If they want us out of here, let them come themselves and lead us out in broad daylight."
38-40 When the officers reported this, the judges panicked. They had no idea that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens. They hurried over and apologized, personally escorted them from the jail, and then asked them if they wouldn't please leave the city. Walking out of the jail, Paul and Silas went straight to Lydia's house, saw their friends again, encouraged them in the faith, and only then went on their way.

Question 1- Paul and Silas were beaten up and thrown in prison. They sang to God through the night, and an earthquake happened that opened the prison doors and loosened the chains of the prisoners. Maybe this was their opportunity, their big break! Why did they choose to stay in the prison?

Question 2- What was the result of the decision they made to stay put? How would that result have been different if Paul and Silas had run away from the prison when the earthquake set them free?

Question 3- What are some ways a Christian can discern if a momentous occasion, such as opening of the prison doors, a chance meeting in a music store, a callback for an audition, or even a call from Oprah, is actually God opening doors?

Question 4- Verse 37 says that Paul wanted to be led in broad daylight. What are some factors that might make you hesitant to take advantage of an opportunity that comes your way?

Question 5- Do you think that Paul and Silas thought of the beating and jailing as a misfortune or an opportunity? How can willingly changing your opinion of a bad situation affect the way you perceive the path through the situation?

Note: It’s important to realize that the three scenarios described above might be from God’s orchestration, or they might not. There is no way to tell simply from the paragraphs because there is too little information provided. But, in your case, you are an expert on your own life and circumstances. Sometimes the best approach to open prison doors is to run, and sometimes the best approach is the stay. Notice that in order for the prison guard to be saved, God had to open the prison doors. If those doors hadn’t been opened, things would have continued as the status quo for that particular guard. So, the earthquake didn’t open the doors and loosen the chains for Paul’s and Silas’ benefit, but for the guard’s benefit. Preparation for the artist includes training and practice, and preparation for the Christian includes reading the Bible regularly, spending time in prayer, giving, and fellowship with other believers. Preparation for a Christian artist of any mode or genre should include both because we deal in both the artistic realm and the spiritual realm, and we have to consider possible opportunities from all points of view.

To read Fine Arts Bible Study #1 click here.

To read Fine Arts Bible Study #2 click here.

To read Fine Arts Bible Study #3 click here.

To read Fine Arts Bible Study #4 click here.

To read Fine Arts Bible Study #5, click here .

To read Fine Arts Bible Study 6, click here.

To read Fine Arts Bible Study 7, click here.

To read Fine Arts Bible Study 8, click here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting thoughts. I've read this story a lot but never thought of it like this. thanks for this. it made me think about how things in my own life.