"So being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went...they began to proclaim the word of God in the synagogues...and they had John as their helper...But Elymas was opposing them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Saul, who was also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze on him, and said, 'You are full of deceit and fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord? Now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and not see the sun for a time.' Then the proconsul believed when he saw what had happened, being amazed at the teaching of the Lord." Acts 13:4-13
For the preacher of good news, The Junction of unction and dysfunction is found at the corner of But and Then. "But Saul...filled with the Holy Spirit" faced the opposition, and called for God's hand to fall on the person who was being used as the devil's own personal hand puppet. "Then the proconsul believed." Praying preachers and praying churches meet God at The Junction. They don't focus on the dysfunction. They call out to God for unction.
Prayer bridges the span of time between BUT and THEN. The false prophet was blind long before Paul called for a physical blindness to fall upon Him, by the hand of God. The proconsul had been led away from the faith, by this man who could not see what God was doing. This is what false prophets always do. They speak authoritatively, but lead blindly. Listening to them, and following them never ends well. So much is going on in Acts 13. Paul is emerging as the leader of the missionary team. Barnabas and Saul is transitioning into Paul and Barnabas.
The issue of John Mark returning to Jerusalem, may have been a result of homesickness, sea sickness or battle fatigue. Whatever the reason, he left Paul and his companions and went home. John Mark's departure would eventually end a great ministry relationship between these two powerful road warriors, but the mission would continue. The opposition of the false prophet was real. Not much has changed. The sons and daughters of Elymas are still with us. Opposition to the preaching and teaching of the Lord is rooted in hell, and people who take part in it, give evidence of bearing fruit that fell from the devil's family tree. False prophets are those who oppose clear Christian doctrine. The opposition is sightless and relentless. They do "not cease to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord." v. 10
To make something crooked is to distort its original intent, to pervert its primary purpose, to detour it or someone from their correct course of action or something's proper function.
Crooked is a deviation from, The Blue Letter Bible's understanding of the word... "to turn, turn around to turn one's self (i.e. to turn the back to one of one who no longer cares for another) metaph. to turn one's self from one's course of conduct, i.e. to change one's mind" Crooked people are not interested in people being converted into straight people. Anyone who is not straight is crooked. They have been robbed of their true sense of direction, lost God's hand of protection and invited His hand of correction. Pray for God to move and get out of the way.
This may explain why people who are opposed to the truth of God's word on any subject, are in desperate need of an adjustment. They are out of alignment, and if left uncorrected their temporary condition becomes permanently set. They are terminally handicapped by their rebellion to the straight way. Crooked people who refuse to realign their lives with "the teaching of the Lord" will be broken beyond repair. Paul declared on behalf of a righteous God, that the opposition fall under the hand of God. When God moved His hand, towards the opposition, it resulted in the opposition being exposed as a fraud, and a blind guide. Praying against opposition is not a matter of name-calling, but a matter of calling out to God, in the name of Jesus, under the influence of The Spirit.
The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right name. The most intolerant people are always calling for tolerance. The most elite are always calling for diversity. Why? They are crooked people. They are bent. They are deceived. They are blind. They are guided by the sound of their inner voice, but cannot recognize that they have become a dummy sitting in the lap of an evil ventriloquist, putting words in their mouth, and a hand in their back, leading them in the wrong direction. When he is done with them, they are put in a dark box. Don't listen to them. Paul declared war on the opposition, and asked a righteous God to declare Himself in agreement with His mission, to move people in the right direction. Elymas may not have felt the hand of God, as much as he felt God's thumb on him. Either way, it resulted in the proconsul being set free from his own blindness.
Pray for God's hand to move, in the name of Jesus and give the Holy Spirit some elbow room. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!
Note to self: The proconsul was amazed at the teaching of the Lord. Make sure you don't miss the Grand Canyon of God's Word, by stopping short of His grandeur for a quick photo op at the sign. The sign always points to the Creator, not the paint brush. Preach and teach the Word.