Whom, How, and When He Will


In the midst of a charged crowd bent on punishment, rationality and coolness of temper is rare. But we see this rarity explicitly in today’s text. Paul’s fellow traveling companions, Gaius and Aristarchus, had been apprehended by an inflamed mob, led by the silversmith Demetrius and those he had stirred up against Paul and his fellow believers. But the dangerous situation takes a surprising turn when help arrives from an altogether unexpected place.

  • Have you been in an unjust or difficult situation and received assistance from an unlikely source? What was that like?


35 And when the town clerk had quieted the crowd, he said, “Men of Ephesus, who is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is temple keeper of the great Artemis, and of the sacred stone that fell from the sky? 36 Seeing then that these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rash. 37 For you have brought these men here who are neither sacrilegious nor blasphemers of our goddess. 38 If therefore Demetrius and the craftsmen with him have a complaint against anyone, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls. Let them bring charges against one another.39 But if you seek anything further, it shall be settled in the regular assembly. 40 For we really are in danger of being charged with rioting today, since there is no cause that we can give to justify this commotion.” 41 And when he had said these things, he dismissed the assembly.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. As the town clerk sought to quell the riot, what four things did he point out (vss. 35-39)?
  2. Of what did he warn the crowd (vs. 40)? Why was this an astute warning, one that would have demanded action?
  3. What did the clerk help the assembled crowd understand about their complaints against Paul, Gaius, Aristarchus, and the other Christians?
  4. God used an unlikely person to protect these believers from harm. Is it surprising to you that he did this? Why or why not?
  5. In what situation in your own life do you need to be reminded that God can use any means necessary to accomplish his will?


The town clerk’s intervention infused peace into an unruly situation. However, what cannot be missed is that God allowed a man with no professed belief or invested interest in the gospel to save the lives of those who purposed to share it. In a pagan city, among a riotous crowd, God raised up a non-Christian to save Christians from harm. If we truly believe that God is sovereign, then this should not astonish us. Instead, it should simply be a reminder that there is absolutely nothing God cannot overcome. He will use whom he will, when he will, and how he will, to accomplish his purpose. The only question is, do we believe it?

  • Thank God that there is nothing and no one outside of his sovereignty.
  • If you’re facing an unjust or difficult situation, ask for God’s intervention.