v 9. God said to Paul ’Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent! For I am with you,’
Don’t be afraid about speaking out for Jesus – He is with you!
Paul’s second missionary journey is coming to an end in this chapter as he returns to his home base church in Antioch. (v 22)
But before that he is able to spend some months in Corinth – which was a notorious seaport, with all kinds of immorality and idolatry prevalent. He was rejected and insulted by his fellow-Jews (v 6) and hauled up in front of the magistrates (v 13) as a disturbed of the peace. It was a dangerous moment for Paul and there must have been a very strong pull on him to give up on Corinth and move on. It is at this moment that God promised His continued presence and gave him every encouragement to persevere.
I believe this pull on us to give up on a particular enterprise that God has called us to is a pretty common experience. Everything seems to be going wrong and the opposition is growing. We feel useless and unable to achieve any worthwhile results, so everything shouts at us – ‘Time to move on and try something different.’ Now, we can’t always assume that God wants us to persevere; there are several occasions in the Acts story where Paul does give up on a town and move on. Acts 14:1-7 when Paul and Barnabas run away from Iconium is but one example. But sometimes God speaks very clearly and says “Hang on in there.” When that conviction comes to us, then be assured that God hangs in with you. When you are in the right place God can do wonderful things for you.