from Lynda Lindsey
Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is the divine power known as the Great Power. They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his magic. Acts 8:9-11
But, “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends. II Corinthians 10:17-18
Braggerts. Boasters. Big talkers. We’ve all known a few. It seems like these big talkers write their own exaggerated press release, and then endorse it so wholeheartedly they come to believe it! Their patter, self-aggrandizement, and self-confidence gets our attention and gains them followers. Harold Hill, the fast-talking salesman in The Music Man, comes to mind. While that chicanery makes for an entertaining and funny movie, in real life it’s deceptive and dangerous.
Simon was a sorcerer, a magician. He gained a following and captured people’s attention through the wonders he performed. Simon practiced his craft and boasted that he was someone great. When people, either high or low, encountered Simon’s magic, they attributed to him divine power. It begs the question to ask if Simon’s magic was empowered by Satan or if it was just illusion. We are warned against sorcery and witchcraft. We are to avoid even the appearance of evil. True disciples boast of God’s greatness, not their own.
Simon’s heart was not right, because he wanted to buy the power that comes from the indwelling Holy Spirit of God…and that power is not for sale. It is God’s gift to us who turn away from wickedness and sin, repent, and turn towards God, asking for His forgiveness, grace, mercy, and love. It is dangerous to write our own press release, much less to believe it. Boast in the Lord, and in Him only. He is the giver of all good gifts, and He generously, freely, bestows those gifts upon His own.
Let us say with the Psalmist, “I will extol the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me, let us exalt His name together.” Psalm 34:1-3