Scripture reading for May 12th: 2 Samuel 1-2, 1st Chronicles 11, Psalm 96, 106, Acts 21
Key Scriptures: Acts 21:10-14 “While we were staying for many days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘This is how the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.'” When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the Name of the Lord Jesus.” And since he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, “Let the will of the Lord be done.””
Paul was heading to Jerusalem where he knew that persecution and imprisonment awaited him, even possible death. A prophet, Agabus, warned Paul of what would happen to him but God had directed Paul in his mission. His friends tried to dissuade Paul from going, but Paul set his face towards Jerusalem and all agreed that God’s will must be done! Sometimes His will involves suffering, persecution, and eternal life through death!
Psalm 96:3 “Declare His glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to live faithful to Your Word and will, even if it will bring hardship. I believe Your grace is sufficient for every trial and Your will is always best.
Psalm 106:47 “Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to Your Holy Name and glory in Your praise.”
Scripture reading for July 1st: Acts 21:1-17
As Paul traveled to Jerusalem, he and his traveling companions made stops to visit the brethren in the churches which Paul had planted. At Tyre, the group stayed with disciples there for seven days. Through the Holy Spirit, they warned Paul not to go to Jerusalem. (Acts 21:4) However, this did not deter them from traveling on.
When the reached Caesarea, they stayed a few days with Philip the evangelist. Philip was one of the original seven deacons (Acts 6:5) and he had four daughters who were prophetesses. “After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jews of Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.”(Acts 21:10-11) This caused all the people there and with Paul to plead with him not to go to Jerusalem!
“Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.” (Acts 21:12-14) Paul knew what the Holy Spirit had told him. The prophecies only confirmed what he knew was the Lord’s will. He was willing to suffer as Jesus had for him and die if necessary!
There are several points to ponder. First, prophesy is not always directive but informative and confirms the will of God. It is also not always good news for our flesh, but is sometimes warning and preparation. We must hear from God ourselves first!
Second, God uses suffering and imprisonment to further His plans and reach people. His servants must be willing to suffer. We can’t always have it like we want it! In the end, we must say “The Lord’s will be done”! It is our privilege to suffer and even die for the Name of our Lord Jesus if that is required! We must be careful that our personal feeling and others opinions don’t sway us from obeying God! God’s will is always best, even if it’s difficult!