6 And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. 7 And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. 8 So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas.
9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
Paul and his crew were traveling around much of the same area he had gone to before. He was continuing to teach and preach the Gospel that freed Jews and Gentiles from everything that the Law of Moses couldn’t free them from. He also had a letter from Jerusalem, from Peter and James and the rest, that said Gentile believers didn’t have to get circumcised in order to follow Jesus and be saved.
That letter helped establish how Jews and Gentiles would interact now that they were all one in Christ. People who were drawn to the God of Israel and His ways would find the fulfillment of their longings in Christ. Other people worn down by the rip-off of paganism and idolatry would find peace and salvation in Christ.
Jesus works the same way today.
The Holy Spirit guided them here and there. Some places weren’t ready for the Gospel and God knew it. As they traveled around, they weren’t certain of their path. I think it’s on purpose that we don’t get details about how they were led. If they wrote down the process, we’d surely copy it and not know if we were actually being led by the Holy Spirit or if we’d ‘perfected’ Paul’s method.
Discernment is hard. It involves attentiveness and surrender to the guidance that God might give us. It requires wisdom and counsel from others that are willing to surrender and submit to God’s will. Paul wasn’t a robot android for Jesus. As much as we pray to hear God so clearly that we’d be robot androids for Jesus, He won’t answer that prayer. He loves us so much that He respects our freedom to obey or disobey.
But He also loves us so much as to stay faithful to us when we make the wrong decisions. He can even use that to spread the Gospel.
But Luke and Paul (note that it’s the first mention of ‘we’!) and their team found their way to Troas. This was almost like New York City. It was a huge port and jockeyed for position as the government capital of the region. That they don’t blame the devil for blocking their way or stopping them. They give glory to God for all of their travels and commit the results to Him.
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