Listening to God
Acts – Chapter 21
- Acts 21:1-12– Paul continues his journey and everywhere he goes prophesies warned him that he will be imprisoned in Jerusalem and his friends pleaded him not to go
- Acts 21:13-15 – Paul would not be convinced and said “The will of the Lord be done.”
- Acts 21:15-19 – In Jerusalem Paul meets James and reported what God had done among the Gentiles
- Acts 21:20-24 – James informed that Paul was teaching to forsake the Law of Moses and that he and his friends should shave their head and be purified to show that he was walking according to the Law
- Acts 21:25-30 – Paul shaved his head and went in the temple but there Jews from Asia stirred the crowd and laid their hands on him
- Acts 21:31-40 – The soldiers arrived and took Paul from the crowd. Then Paul asked to speak to the crowd
Paul’s Refusal to Respond to the Prophecies and Requests from His Friends
The comments in another post seem to be confirmed in today’s reading. Everybody attempted to persuade Paul to change his plan (Acts 21:4, 11-14). These were all people moving under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and all tried to dissuade Paul unsuccessfully.
A Heart Set on Something Is Not Easily Changed
This shows a general principle. When you set your heart on something, no matter what others may do to dissuade you (Mat 6:21), they will fail even if they come to you with the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
For this reason it is very important not to become attached to some specific plan or outcome but to remain open to God’s direction (Pro 3:5-6).
I have seen this often in counseling people who got involved in dysfunctional relationship or who wanted a job with more money or prestige but was not good for them. They almost always do not listen to the advice that would save them from much trouble.
True humility is when you remain open to God’s direction and are willing to forgo your plans to follow His plans (1 Pet 5:5).
Paul’s Encounter with James
Even the meeting with James was not favorable for Paul. Although they glorified God for what had happened with the Gentiles, they demanded Paul and his friends submit to ceremonial cleansing (Acts 21:22-26). This legalistic approach demonstrates that the church in Jerusalem was still under the bondage of the Law.
Paul accepted to please the Jews and those wanting to follow Jewish traditions, and not uphold his revelation of salvation by faith and not works (Rom 3:27, 9:32, Gal 2:16, 3:2-6, Jam 2:24). He did not stand for the truth that he had fought to establish.
But compromise never produces good results. Paul’s actions did not convince his opponents who attacked him in the temple (Acts 21:27, 30). He was barely saved by the soldiers who came to take him from the angry crowd (Acts 21:32-33) and imprisoned him.
Prayer of Faith
I thank you Father that You care about me and You guide me. I want to learn to hear Your voice and obey. You have a plan for my life and that plan is the purpose of my life. I know that by following it, I will be happy and will fulfill my destiny.
In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen!
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