19:15 And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?”
16 Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17 This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. 18 And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds. 19 Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.
I was recently at an event where they spoke about the sex trade and selling of children in northern Cambodia who were then smuggled north to Thailand. Thailand is well known as both a host for sex trade industry and a hub for trafficking illegal "workers". It is estimated that there are nearly 40,000 children under the age of 16 in Thailand's many brothels etc... In short the sex trade has become what Thailand is known for. It's disgusting and I am thankful organizations are forming and working to find ways to rescue and prevent children from becoming pawns in this shameful, evil industry.
Ephesus was known for something else. It was a hub for black magic and the occult. When Paul showed up God used him to get the attention not only of the people being deceived by this "business" but He got the attention of those practicing magic and "divine arts". So much so that they publicly burned their books etc... which were of great value both in terms of cost and in terms of their worth in making them more money by casting spells, telling the future etc...
It would be similar to going into the red light districts of Thailand and having the owners and managers of the brothels under such conviction from God that they would set the children free and burn down their buildings.
Luke ends the account by saying "So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed."
You see it's a war. It is literally a war between light and darkness.
I well remember a few years ago in Nova Scotia when the news broke than a bishop who was overseeing/facilitating the healing of a diocese after a child abuse scandal by previous priests was busted coming back into Canada for his involvement in child pornography. Respected community leader in Canada but depraved slave of his own sexual demons as a world traveler. They actually pulled him out of the line at customs because his travels were a red flag. The countries he had been visiting were well known destinations in the illegal sex trafficking of children. His computers were searched and the rest is history.
Make no mistake. We live in a war zone. Either God is prevailing in our lives or the darkness is increasing. God used Paul to bring light to dark Ephesus. He is still in the light bringing business. He still desires to prevail even in dark Thailand and in the dark hearts of those who travel there to feed their own demons.
If you want freedom, He can set you free no matter what chains are binding you.