I often see that my walk with God is not what it ought to be. Sometimes I am not so sure that I have ever really walked with God in the same way the apostle Paul, or even John Mark may have. I read the gospels, the New Testament, and even the Old Testament and see many of those saints with such strong faith that mine falls so short. There are times I have the thoughts, and I know they only come from the enemy, “What is the point of all this?” The answer is the FAITH of Jesus Christ.
My reading this morning was Acts 16 – 25. The reading deals much with journeys of Paul; his missionary journeys. There are others who are with him in his travels. Luke is the one writing, so we know he is with him. Timothy, a young man, comes into the picture as well.
The question could be asked, “How does Paul know where to go on these journeys?” Let us look at some events that took place:
“Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, after they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not. And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, ‘Come over into Macedonia, and help us.’ And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.” Acts 16:6-10 (KJV)
The way I am seeing this is that Paul, being led by the Spirit of God, believed he should go to Asia, but there was some event, or circumstance which the Holy Spirit placed in the way to prevent it. They “were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia”. I find it rather odd that many missionaries pay no attention to circumstances or events, and wade right into situations, because “We have a call”. Could it not be that the Holy Spirit is trying to prevent you from doing it?
We must go by the leading of the Spirit of God, and I am certainly not one to give advice in this matter; however, we do need to pay attention to circumstances, events, and counsel from others, as well as our own calling from God. Where God calls he leads and provides.
By the time we reach the 25th chapter we find Paul arrested, and getting ready to go to Rome. Paul had felt a need to go to Rome, but the opportunity had not presented itself. He went to Jerusalem where he is accosted by his peers in the Jewish religion, falsely accused arrested by Roman soldiers; witnesses to the governors Festus and Felix; telling them of his faith in Christ, and his experience on the road to Damascus to capture and chain Christians for the return to Jerusalem.
If you will notice Paul is about to be tried in Jerusalem –
“But Festus, willing to do the Jews a pleasure, answered Paul, and said, ‘Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things before me?’ Then said Paul, ‘I stand at Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest. For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar.’ Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, ‘Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? unto Caesar shalt thou go.'” Acts 25:9-12
Paul was going to see the fulfillment of what the Lord Jesus had promised in a vision,
“And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, ‘Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of Me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.” Acts 23:11
When the Spirit of the Lord is leading God will bring it about; in His own way, His own time, and it will be accomplished with glory to Him, not to the flesh.
Let us walk in the Spirit of our Lord.
-Tim A. Blankenship