Tag: handed to the Gentiles
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 a part in starting. 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!
Several lessons are for us here. First, prophesy is not always directive but informative and confirming what God’s will is. It is also not always good news for our flesh, but is often 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 for God’s will! 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!