People Behaving Badly
Taking a look at the heavenly chess board, we have seen in the last few posts that God has launched a major offensive in the province of Asia, with Ephesus as the strategic central point of His operations. Up to this point, the Enemy was completely on the defensive, and in this text he attempts to slow God’s progress in Ephesus.
The instigator of the counter assault is a silversmith named Demetrius who riles up his fellow silversmiths by pointing out that the silver idols that are the basis of their very lucrative trade are in danger of becoming economically obsolete, as Paul’s message finds more and more acceptance among their potential customers.
The silversmiths and whoever else heard Demetrius responded with logic and high mental prowess, just as agitators always do: They shouted slogans. Their slogan, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians” struck a chord of tradition and civic pride among the people, and chaos resulted; before long the crowd became a mob of shouting people, few of whom had any real idea of why all of this was even happening, and they grabbed two of Paul’s travelling companions and dragged them into the theater.
Paul felt compelled to go there and address the crowd, but everyone urged him not to. In verse 31 we discover that Paul now had friends in high places, and they too sent him word to stay away.
Finally, before anything too drastic had taken place the city clerk managed to quiet the mob; he spoke to them in a reasonable way, pointing out that their business was safe, and then pointing out that the reputation of the city was hanging in the balance (civic pride again) and that if they had any actual charges to file against the two men they had taken, there were courts for that purpose. This appears to have broken the spell of insanity, and the mob, now once again a crowd, began to go home.
Like I mentioned last time, God was not messing around in Ephesus; the counter assault failed completely.