Asking for directions ∙
The LORD went ahead of them. He guided them during the day with a pillar of cloud, and he provided light at night with a pillar of fire. This allowed them to travel by day or by night. – Exodus 13:21
6 Next Paul and Silas traveled through the area of Phrygia and Galatia, because the Holy Spirit had prevented them from preaching the word in the province of Asia at that time.
7 Then coming to the borders of Mysia, they headed north for the province of Bithynia, but again the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to go there.
9 That night Paul had a vision: A man from Macedonia in northern Greece was standing there, pleading with him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!”
10 So we decided to leave for Macedonia at once, having concluded that God was calling us to preach the Good News there.
Years ago, before the days of GPS, Bob was invited to the home of a new friend, Tom. Tom lived on the top of a high hill in the middle of a thick forest accessed by country roads. Many gravel paths, driveways, and roads might lead to the home. And most of them were neither marked, nor had any street signs. From ground level, it was all very confusing. However, from his perspective, on top of the hill, Tom could see Bob’s car approaching from some distance away. He guided and directed Bob by cell phone as to which turn to take and when.
The Father has a plan for each child of the King. He always knows where they are and uses a myriad of ways to get them to their destination.
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
To experience the Father’s guidance requires three things from us.
- We need confidence that the Father knows what He is doing.
- We need to ask Him for directions and guidance.
- We need to learn to listen and follow instructions.
REFLECT & PRAY
Sometimes we are stubborn; other times, we desire to do things our own way. Sadly we often fail to seek and receive the Father’s help.
Father I know I can trust You, and I know that You desire my best. I am just not used to listening. Encourage me to be more pliable and to trust and depend upon You for direction.
The Father opens and closes doors. Some opportunities are time-sensitive.
On the night that the Lord Jesus Christ was born, what would have happened if the shepherds had disregarded the angelic messenger (Luke 2:8-20)? What if the good Samaritan had ignored the man who was robbed and beaten (Luke 10:30-37)?
The Father does not always reveal everything we need to know at once. Instead, He teaches us to depend upon Him moment-by-moment, day-by-day, step-by-step. We are drawn into a more intimate relationship with the Father as we rely upon Him. Sometimes He leads by putting up stop signs.
Acts 16:6 Holy Spirit had prevented them from preaching the word in the province of Asia at that time.
Acts 16:7 Then coming to the borders of Mysia, they headed north for the province of Bithynia, but again the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to go there.
Paul and his companions had developed a strategy to share the gospel and make disciples. But they never let their plans get in the way of the Spirit’s leading. The Father wants our planning and His guidance to go hand-in-hand (Stanley).
The Father had a definite plan in mind. He wanted Paul to go west into Europe rather than east into Asia. The Holy Spirit closed the door to the east and the north. Twice the Holy Spirit thwarted their plans.
Pause for a moment and consider. They were prevented from preaching the gospel in specific locations. How can this be? The Father’s eternal plan includes priorities. The Father guided via a clear vision of a Macedonian standing and begging.
Acts 16:9 That night Paul had a vision: A man from Macedonia in northern Greece was standing there, pleading with him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!”
The Father has perfect timing. He creates ideal circumstances and then guides each child of the King exactly where He wants them.
An Ethiopian eunuch had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and now he was returning home. He was traveling by a chariot that was large enough to allow him to sit while someone else steered. The Ethiopian was reading from the scroll of Isaiah. What he read puzzled him. No doubt, he was seeking wisdom and understanding. The Father heard the prayer of his heart, and He dispatched Philip by an angel.
Acts 8:26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.”
As Philip approached the Ethiopian, the Holy Spirit spoke to him again.
29 And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.”
30 So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
The Ethiopian was reading about the suffering servant in Isaiah 53.
34 And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?”
35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture, he told him the good news about Jesus.
The next thing you know the Ethiopian believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and asked Philip to baptize him. Philip did so and was immediately whisked away by the Holy Spirit. We are not told exactly what happened and how this occurred. But it does not matter.
Acts 8:39 And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing.
The Father uses divine directions and diversions to get us to where He needs us to be. Bumps in the road can be momentarily difficult, but they are momentary. In retrospect, the Father’s detours are actually the most direct path to fulfill His Purposes.
© Dr. H 2022