We get to follow along with Paul again as he continues on his second missionary journey. Again it is a travel itinerary portion of scripture and doesn’t leave me a lot to dig into. It does bring up a couple questions and one observation I want to share.
The first thing spoken about is our passage is that the Holy Spirit forbade them “to speak the word in Asia” (verse 6). I wonder why and how it was that He communicated that to them. Was it through a vision? Did he keep closing doors in their way? Was there a prophecy given? Exactly how did they get this message?
The next thing we are told is that “the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them” to go into Bithynia either. Why? And how did they get this message? I have seen God close doors in my life and realized afterwards that it was His hand on me. But I’ve also had times where doors keep getting closed in my face and it makes me want to kick them down even harder or to find an opening somewhere. What was it about this message that made Paul, our headstrong missionary, to change his direction?
I wish there was some kind of signal that God would give to let me know that He is the one who closed or opened a specific path. I am often afraid to step onto a path because I don’t know for sure if I am supposed to or not. “Did God really say for me to _____ or is it my imagination or pride sending me there?” If Paul would have shared his sure fire method of knowing I’m certain Satan would have counterfeited it many times over. As far as I can tell, there is no formula other than KNOWING God’s voice. That Satan can’t counterfeit!
Paul was VERY certain of God’s direction when he received the vision. I would expect him to have mentioned having visions regarding the other directives if that was the way they were given to him too.
The one observation I wanted to share was that we picked up another person along the way. It was Luke and he was in Troas. What makes me think that you ask? It is the change in the language. From the time they (Paul, Silas and Timothy) went to Troas Luke began saying “we” and “us” when speaking of what happened on this journey. Prior to that Luke used the term “they” consistently. He will be with them for a while. We will have to see where he leaves their company.
Thank You Jesus for letting us sit in on Your stories again tonight. Thank You for being so close to Paul that he KNEW Your voice intimately. I pray that someday I will have developed that certainty in my spirit. I definitely see Your hand in my life looking backwards and I trust You with whatever comes next. But to KNOW that it is You leading me somewhere is a priceless gift! I long for that gift.