Acts 16:25-26 (NIV), “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.”
Midnight is generally the darkest part of the day, just like noon is the brightest. Paul and Silas had not had a good day. They were about the Lord’s business of preaching and teaching, evangelizing the gentiles in Philippi. Unfortunately, when they cast the spirit of divination out of a young slave woman, all hell broke loose, literally. Her owners were not pleased.
Acts 16: 20-24 (N IV), “They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.” The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.”
There they were, beaten, surrounded by soldiers, feet in stocks (metal manacles chained to the wall or floor or wooden beams with holes for your feet), and what were they doing “about midnight?” Yep, they were praying and singing hymns to God. Now, I think I have been a little distracted by the pain, or maybe in the throes of the biggest pity party ever, but not these men of God. They kept their focus and the other prisoners were listening. They weren’t mocking them, or cursing them, they liked what they were hearing, it gave them hope! So about midnight, at the darkest hour, God came through for them, and not just for them, there were glorious salvations from that act of praise.
Acts 16:27-34 (NIV), “The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.”
That isn’t even my favorite part of the story, the next morning those same government officials sent word to let Paul and Silas go free. This wasn’t acceptable to Paul.
Acts 16:37-40 (NIV), “But Paul said to the officers: “They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out.”The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed. They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city. After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and sisters and encouraged them. Then they left.”
There darkest night turned into a morning of honor as the magistrates came and escorted them out of the prison!
Never lose hope, never give up or give in. If God is for you, who can be successfully against you?