Be Wise as a Serpent, Be Harmless as a Dove ~ Reflections from Acts

In Acts 23, Paul finds himself on trial for his life just as the prophets had warned in previous chapters as we have already discussed. Being forewarned is to be forearmed. Paul responds with heavenly wisdom and perception in this crucial moment because it was divinely ordained that he would “witness” in Rome as in Jerusalem. This would eventually mean his martyrdom. ⠀

“And [that same] following night the Lord stood beside Paul and said, “Take courage, Paul, for as you have borne faithful witness concerning Me at Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.”

Acts 23:11 AMPC⠀

At the point of his trial when they (the Jewish council or Sanhedrin) could seize hold of him, Paul perceives through divine revelation to appeal to the Pharisees in the mix. This was divine wisdom in action.⠀

“Now when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. It is with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.” And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all. Then a great clamor arose, and some of the scribes of the Pharisees’ party stood up and contended sharply, “We find nothing wrong in this man. What if a spirit or an angel spoke to him?”

Acts 23:6-9 ESV⠀

This wisdom literally saved Paul’s neck at the 11th hour! What is this wisdom? Divine wisdom and prophetic revelation. It is from on high. I kept hearing these words of Jesus concerning Paul’s actions in this scripture.⠀

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”

Matthew 10:16 NKJV⠀

Jesus was speaking of the coming persecution. Paul was very much in the middle of it during his trial in Jerusalem. But as the Lord revealed to Paul in verse 11, his time had not yet come. He would witness also in Rome and so he was to take courage and trust the word of the Lord. Heavenly wisdom and prophetic revelation, even at the 11th hour, will give us the practical steps in the moment and the courage to continue fighting the good fight. ⠀

Are you fighting the good fight today? Have you had an instance where spiritual wisdom and revelation have saved you at the 11th hour? We’d love to hear from you. Drop us a comment below… 👇

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